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Absinthe Junk: Living Ghosts

Like every emerging act, "Alternative Progressive Metal" quartet Absinthe Junk prides itself on being a fresh new force within the genre. With an aggressive female singer, intricate compositions, and some very beautiful arrangements, the group certainly touches on some pleasant moments on their debut, Living Ghosts; however, as is usually the case, they succumb to emulation instead of innovation most of the time, resulting in a record that barely offers anything new.

Formed in Nashville, they boast about how their "ethereal melodies are fused with eclectic musical influences and textures from around the world and darkened by an edgy army of harmonizing and melodic guitars—all of which forge a hard hitting progressive alliance." Of course, it's natural to hyperbolize when writing describing your art, so one can't fault them too much for exaggerating their uniqueness and quality. Fortunately, their own comparison to Garbage and Evanescence is accurate (I would also include Halestorm). Overall, Absinthe Junk scatters interesting sounds cautiously into their cauldron of unoriginality. It would be a lot more worthwhile if it wasn't so ordinary. Rather than go into detail on the common prog metal approaches and make this a thoroughly negative, antagonistic affair, I'll discuss the few sections where Absinthe Junk shines. "Road to Damnation" is an instrumental full of rambunctious strings which complement the riffs and percussion wonderfully. "Sweet Vaccine" features sentimental guitar effects (specifically, violin) that adds a layer of color to the mix, and the title track is a somber, atmospheric interlude elevated by touching acoustic guitar arpeggios, more strings, and a subtle ghostly shade. "Precious Delirium" is a ballad with plenty of emotion and development (and it's one place where vocalist Blair is inviting instead of obnoxious). Closer "Road to Damnation, Pt. 2" feels like a natural continuation of its predecessor, and its ending makes great usage of dissonance.

For many genre fans, the raucous nature and familiar sounds of Living Ghosts will be sufficient enough to provide a fun and invigorating experience; however, if you're looking for something more distinct and varied, you'll be disappointed. Despite some complex and beautiful instrumental passages, overall, the majority of the record culminates in nothing more than redundant, obnoxious music that's been done to death by countless other acts previously.

Track Listing
1. Commercialized Waste
2. Road to Damnation
3. Dragonflies in Hurricans
4. Sweet Vaccine
5. Living Ghosts
6. Swear to Me
7. Rust
8. Precious Delirium
9. Assassin (Someday)
10. Road to Damnation, Pt 2

Added: June 17th 2012
Reviewer: Jordan Blum
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1640
Language: english

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