|Musical Style: Doom Metal||Produced By: Sven Gachter & Pylon|
|Record Label: Quam Libet||Country Of Origin: Switzerland|
|Year Released: 2006||Artist Website: Pylon|
|Tracks: 12||Rating: 75%|
|Running Time: 55:11|
Switzerland’s Pylon came together in 2002 when it was founded by guitarist Matt Brand and drummer Tinu Christen. Later solidifying its line up with the addition of bassist Jan Thomas, Pylon proceeded to record its full length, Natural Songbirth, in 2004 prior to the release of a very fine sophomore effort entitled The Eternal Wedding Band two years later. What we have in Pylon is a doom based sound drawing upon the influences of Black Sabbath and Saint Vitus, the deluge of plodding riffs and down tuned low end heaviness delivered by the band certain to also attract the interest of those into Place Of Skulls, Faith, Troglodyte Dawn and Babylon Mystery Orchestra. But enough melody imbues the music of Pylon, at the same time, that fans of classic metal or even traditional hard rock should be able to find a home here as well.
The Eternal Wedding Band, as one would expect, finds Pylon putting its best foot forward on quality mid-tempo tracks “A Walk Through Wonderland”, “To My Brethren”, “The Cold Mirror/Fields Of Sorrow” and “In From The Futile Fields” (the latter two coming in at over seven minutes each). But, on the other hand, when the band chooses to pick up the pace – such as the catchy “Anaconda” and “Checkmate 64” – it can deliver an up-tempo composition every bit as notable. Nevertheless, one of the albums highlights has to be its numerous instrumental pieces in that the guitar driven “2046”, thrash flavored “Cannibal Coronal Mass Election” and ethereal “L’epee Dans Mon Coeur” all stand out.
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All three members of Pylon contribute in the vocal department. Matt Brand and Tinu Christen both bring a lead vocal style of the low key, harsh and guttural variety. Yes, a bit of polish is needed here – you will find the occasional rough and shaky moment throughout the project – but you cannot say the gruff vocal delivery of the two does not fit the doom based sounds here like a glove. Jan Thomas adds the extreme growling found on “Falling Into The Sun” and “A Walk Through Wonderland”.
While Pylon is not a Christian band, guitarist Matt Brand – who in the albums liner notes credits “God (JC) the Creator and giver of life, for His endless love, guidance and inspiration” – is a believer. He best showcases his abilities on “Falling Into The Sun” (real melodic feel to his playing on the songs instrumental section) in addition to “The Cold Mirror/Fields Of Sorrow” and “In From The Futile Fields” (very well done demonstration of lead work on these two). The albums instrumental pieces, as one would expect, also give him ample opportunity to cut loose.
Jan Thomas wrote the majority of the lyrics here with the occasional contribution by Tinu Christen. A recurring theme of death (a fitting topic for a doom album) can be found throughout the project, dealing with issues ranging from soldiers who fail to return from war, family tragedy and the fall of man and his eventual banishment from the Garden of Eden.
When playing music of this sort, a great deal of refinement is not always necessary. And that is the best way to describe the production values here- capturing the band in its natural form without taking away from its all out raw energy.
“And Thus It Ends…”, as unlikely entitled album opener as you will ever find, is a plodding bass heavy instrumental carried its distance by a grinding rhythm guitar.
Tinu accentuates the pointed but furious “Anaconda” with his gritty vocal delivery. The song jumps out of the gate to a literal storm of rhythm guitar, putting in place a strident atmosphere the rest of its way while delivering a catchy hook of a near prevailing capacity. The tepid scene does not even out until just prior to an instrumental section sustained by a blazing guitar solo. “Anaconda” is aptly named:
From the apple a bit, getting overload
Drink this wine with dedication and
Feel this real powers of seduction and
Agony – ah, try the sweet thing – try
Look out for a steady hold or
Suffer from the act of the Anaconda…
The only track on The Eternal Wedding Band I struggle to get into is “Falling Into The Sun”. Perhaps it is the all around heavy handed feel to the song or the slightly repetitive nature of its chorus (backed by extreme vocals), but more often than not I end up hitting the skip button. That being said, I enjoy how “Falling Into The Sun” tapers off for an instrumental section shored up by some very melodically played guitar. “Falling Into The Sun” talks about the implosion of the universe:
From the edge
To reach end
The universe is falling apart again
And we fall
Through the all
Into the sun
The end has begun
I might describe the instrumental “Cannibal Coronal Mass Election” as a three minute assault of bludgeoning guitar, transitioning between passages of a mid-tempo paced variety and others moving in a faster if not thrashier direction.
The vocal performance of Matt Brand on “A Walk Through Wonderland” hints at Alice Cooper in places. The song begins to a bass guitar solo before slowly grooving through its melodic based verse portions, not picking up in pace until initiative is gained for a hard hitting chorus highlighted by a touch of keyboards. Brand’s tight as a nail playing also holds sway over a minute long instrumental section. Family tragedy is the theme here:
Mama, hold your darling close, he’s dying of an overdose
See his dear eyes as they break, drown his body in the lake
Mama, now your baby weeps as the cancer in her creeps
Feel her throb in her last fight, feed her to the dogs tonight
Life is walking hand in hand
You’re not yet meant to understand
“2046” is the better of the albums instrumental tracks. A choppy rhythm guitar gradually pushes the song ahead until a time change is made to a quieter passage in which keyboards play a prevailing role. Brand soon steps forward with a lengthy stretch of bluesy soloing until the rhythm guitar returns to lead the way until things end coldly.
Opening quietly before slowly drifting through its first verse, “The Cold Mirror/Fields Of Sorrow” gains impetus as the rhythm guitar takes over and impels things forward with an abundance of trudging momentum. A brief but catchy chorus will pull you in and refuse to let go. Brand again cuts loose with his fluid playing throughout an extensive instrumental section, while the songs final minute and a half is shored up by a spacey keyboard solo. When looking into the mirror, one might not always recognize what they see:
So oft I’ve crossed the mirror in my dreams
And so I did again this night
It seems today that my reflection looks past me
I know this can’t be right
The cold mirror of my sould
The dark side of myself
Is only alive at night
“In From The Futile Fields” stands out as one of the albums more melodic pieces. The drum solo getting the song underway soon blends itself with the sound of machine gun fire, the disconsolate ambience maintained as a toiling rhythm guitar poignantly drives its first verse. A trace of vocal harmonies complements the emotionally charged chorus that follows. It is worth noting Brand puts forth the most even vocal performance of the album here. “In From The Futile Fields” deals with soldiers who fail to return from war:
Do you hear the leaden knell at daybreak?
Do you know whose strife is at an end?
Can you bear this farewell one more morning?
When will the black cloud next descend?
One more soldier back from war…
From the depths of disaster, from the depths of cold fear
From the fields of foul fever they have come home, but are no more
A blend of piano and keyboards compels the graceful instrumental “L’epee Dans Mon Coeur” its full distance.
“Checkmate 64”, a shorter piece coming in at just under three minutes, stands out with its up-tempo impetus and driving wall of rhythm guitar. Perhaps it is the distortion added to Tinu’s vocal delivery, but I cannot help but be reminded of the Galactic Cowboys here (Machine Fish era). I know, unlikely comparison but that is the first thing that comes to mind.
Emotional but laid back and melodic, “To My Brethren” is the closest any of the albums compositions comes to being a ballad. The song moves its full length transitioning between instrumental moments that find the rhythm guitar playing a forward role in the mix and others in which Brand’s voice ends up underlined by a distant tinge of keyboards. All in all, the overall feeling I get, again, is emotional and helps this rate with the better material on The Eternal Wedding Band. “To My Brethren” comes across as a scathing accusation of false righteousness (the lyrics here really make you think):
I was ill and left alone and you thanked God for your healthy homes
I was unshielded by aught roof and you praised that bounteous God aloof
“Dementia” closes things out as an instrumental in which a cacophony of voices backs a joining of drums and piano.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “And Thus It Ends…” (2:11), “Anaconda” (3:50), “Falling Into The Sun” (7:14), “Cannibal Coronal Mass Election” (3:10), “A Walk Through Wonderland” (5:26), “2046” (4:31), “The Cold Mirror” (7:37), “In From The Futile Fields” (7:53), “L’epee Dans Mon Coeur” (2:07), “Checkmate 64” (2:43), “To My Brethren” (6:09), “Demntia” (2:03)
Matt Brand – Lead Guitar & Vocals
Jan Thomas – Bass & Vocals
Tinu Christen – Drums & Vocals
James Ender – Lead Guitar
Also Reviewed: Pylon - Doom