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Crowned: Vacuous Spectral Silence

When I was in Junior High School, I remember learning a bunch of new words as I prepared for college entrance exams. I don't know if "vacuous" was one of those words, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was. After all, it's one of those so-called "fancy" words that allow people to sound really smart. In the case of "vacuous," it lets you describe something as empty or useless or lacking thought without having to say it so simply and directly. Knowing what this word means, I would consider it insulting to have my own work described as vacuous.

I wish I understood exactly what Crowed was trying to suggest by giving this album the title Vacuous Spectral Silence. I really like the idea of spectral silence; I picture quiet ghosts haunting an area, much like the specters in Henry James's menacing Turn of the Screw. I remain confused, though, by using the word "vacuous" here. What is the purpose of using a word that connotes a lack of interest or of something boring? I can't say, but I must confess that I found this album to be rather uninteresting. I'm sure that wasn't an effect intended by the band, but, still, it does border on the vacuous. To be fair, several of the compositions here are relatively interesting. I liked, for instance, "Journey to the Cross-roads" and parts of "Diamonds." The problem, though, is that Crowned takes good ideas and plays them for far too long. At times, the songs just don't sound good, as in the early bridge section in "Firmament." The sound of the closing (and title) track is also a little on the weaker side. Ultimately, though, it's the length of the songs that is at issue. Most of them are 10 or so minutes long and tend to get lost in that endless morass of tremolo picking, relentless drumming, and incoherent vocals that are so common to black metal these days. I've listened to enough black metal that I feel like I get the point of it all, but does it have to be so repetitive that it loses purpose? To put it another way, when did all this become clichéd and predictable?

Track Listing:
1. Menelvagor
2. Journey to the Cross-roads
3. Firmament
4. Apocryphal Catacomb
5. Diamonds
6. Vacuous Spectral Silence

Added: November 22nd 2012
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Label Page
Hits: 1864
Language: english

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