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Nauticus: The Wait

You have to admire the cover art of Nauticus' sophomore album, The Wait. Its Mars Volta-esque cryptic, colorful imagery suggests an array of eccentric timbres and experimental arrangements within. Unfortunately, the music itself isn't nearly as mysterious and intriguing. In fact, it's sort of the opposite—an intricate yet restricted and familiar collection of prog metal covered in a grayish aura.

According to the group, The Wait should be viewed as a concept album centered on an "apocalyptic lyrical theme [that] flows through an hour of experimental, psychedelic and visionary landscape of rock, metal, and alternative." To be fair, the album does flow smoothly and cohesively, and there is a consistent sense of melancholy and urgency. Overall, though, the album suffers from a lack of variety and freshness. The musicianship is strong and the tracks are enjoyable individually, but once it all runs together, it starts to feel a bit ordinary. Truthfully, there's nothing here that Mastodon, Tool, and Cynic aren't already doing much better.

The album opens with layered guitar arpeggios and then grows gradually to include other components. Vocalist Jani Rämo's sings with such a stereotypical gruff that it feels a bit like a mockery of the genre and the entire composition (and album) reeks of textbook approach. "Ascend" fairs a bit better thanks to its compromise between calmness and ferocity, and there are some interesting changes during the middle jam.

Although the album is relatively stagnant and sonically bland, there are some other standout moments. The main guitar part in "A Delayed End" is affective, and its ending features some nice harmonies. "Their Whereabouts" is a brief interlude that's more restrained and reflective than the rest of the album; it's an appreciated detour. There are also some rhythmically addictive passages in "Bone Dams," and "Kalmisto" contains enough dynamic shifts and sections to warrant its stance as an epic closer.

The Wait exemplifies a common problem within the genre today. If it was the first of its kind, it'd probably be revered; however, it's obviously not, and so it winds up just being a run-of-the-mill album by a band that seems content to emulate rather than innovate. Rämo's vocals are especially poor (he sounds like an amateurish grunge singer without a shred of distinctiveness), and the music is just too formulaic. In order for a band to be creatively successful (in ironic contrast to commercially successful), it must have a unique identity. Nauticus does not.

Track Listing
1. Constructing the Liquid Plains
2. Ascend
3. A Delayed End
4. The Route
5. Their Whereabouts
6. Bone Dams
7. As Barriers Fall
8. Kalmisto

Added: May 17th 2012
Reviewer: Jordan Blum
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1922
Language: english

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