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Twisted Into Form: Then Comes Affliction To Awaken the Dreamer

So often, technical-metal music focuses more on the technical metal and not enough on the music, sacrificing melody and structure in favor of songs free of feeling and warmth. Enter Twisted Into Form, which only occasionally falls into that trap. More often than not, this quartet — featuring members of Spiral Architect and Extol — melds jazz-fusion and complex progressive metal with sincere emotion. The 10 songs on the band's debut, Then Comes Affliction to Awaken the Dreamer (a very prog-metal title), recall many other bands on the Sensory/Lasers Edge labels, including Zero Hour, Gordian Knot and Anti-Depressive Delivery.

Former Spiral Architect guitarist Kaj Gornitzka, Extol drummer David Husvik, bassist Erik Aadland and original Spiral Architect session vocalist Leif K. Knashaug got together back in 2000 and rehearsed for years. The actual recording of Then Comes Affliction to Awaken the Dreamer took another two years — no surprise considering all of the sonic intricacies hidden inside songs that typically run no longer than six or seven minutes. That gives the band just enough time to turn its precision staccato riffs, machine-gun blast beats and slightly pain-addled vocals into soaring, textured and emotive musical statements without getting cold or monotonous.

Some of the album's most beautiful and memorable passages come on "House of Nadir," which contrast sharply with the unexpected and jarring black-metal vocals on "Manumit" — the only track here that heads in that direction. Producer Neil Kernon (Queensryche, Nevermore, Kansas, Dokken) injects the album with a rich sound that reveals new sonic layers upon each listen. Twisted into Form isn't for everyone — Knashaug sometimes sings out of synch with the music, which can get frantic and brutal — and it's probably not a good idea to spin this one while driving. Nevertheless, adventurous metal fans will find much to intrigue them with Then Comes Affliction to Awaken the Dreamer. The album's multiple layers and cryptic lyrics could keep them busy for hours.

Track Listing:
1) Enter Nothingness
2) Instinct Solitaire
3) Torrents
4) The Thin Layers of Lust and Love
5) Tear
6) Manumit
7) The Flutter Kings
8) Erased
9) House of Nadir
10) Coda

Added: April 15th 2007
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: The Laser's Edge
Hits: 7919
Language: english

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Twisted Into Form: Then Comes Affliction To Awaken the Dreamer
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-04-15 06:04:08
My Score:

Twisted Into Form's debut album was years in the making, and since there was no news from the Spiral Architect camp, every fan of them had their attention turned to former Spiral guitarist Kaj Gornitzka's new band. Gornitzka teamed up with Extol drummer David Husvik, with whom he wrote pretty much all of the album, including lyrics and vocal melodies before setting out to seek a proper label that would do their work justice. Enter Ken Golden's Sensory Records and ever since the early days of 2004 there was word that the album was getting recorded. However, the process took longer than one could handle, due to various reasons, one of which is Gornitzka's move to Portugal and the rest of the band being in their homeland Norway. So over a period of two years, they finally recorded their songs and got Neil Kernon to mix the tapes. Sonically, as expected, the album is a monster.

Considering Kaj Gornitzka's six-year stint with Spiral Architect, or even longer when we take into account the other bands he and Lars played together, it is impossible not to draw comparisons between Twisted Into Form and Spiral Architect. Add to this the inclusion of original Spiral Architect session vocalist Leif Knashaug and you have a pretty similar band. The music is busy, filled with a good amount of technical guitar wizardy, corrosive bass from former Lunaris member Erik Aadland, and off-the-wall drum attacks courtesy of David Husvik. The general vibe and overall instrumentation is quite alike Spiral Architect and also recalls other greats such as Arch-era Fates Warning, earlier Sieges Even, and Psychotic Waltz. Twisted Into Form is a band that wears their influences on their sleeves; Knashaug's delivery and the chord progressions on "Instinct Solitaire" recall Fates Warning's Awaken the Guardian, where they employ nice dual lead parts and epic guitar riffery. The gloom-filled, apocalyptic instrumental "Tear" is in the same mould as Black Sabbath's "E150", built around a profoud bass and guitar dissonance. Likewise, Knashaug opts for a rather theatrical vocal style on the otherwise technical "Manumit", except that he is also unafraid to infuse some brutal death growls into the mix.

That said, Twisted Into Form also exerts a certain unique vibe that ventures into deeply atmospheric parts that see the band utilising stretched-out acoustic passages and doomy soundscapes amongst a wide array of non-metal elements. "Erased" is textured with an exquisite jazz feel and intentionally unfitting operatic vocals atop nicely played flamenco guitars and blues-inflected harmonies. Aadland's bass sounds more like Jaco Pastorius than a metal guy, but the amalgamation is perfect. The Middle Eastern elements displayed on "The Thin Layers of Lust and Love" reveal the band's interest in longer instrumental passages and the addition of sitar-like instruments with lots of jazz warmth and complex unison leads. The cascading bass guitar on this song is awe-inspiring. "Coda" also sees the vocalist and Garnitzka joining forces to create volcanic explosions that follow tension-raising acoustic parts. Worthy of mention is also "The Flutter Kings", boasting a somewhat industrial drum and bass battery before bleeding into the eastern tones of "Torrents".

Then Comes Affliction to Awaken the Dreamer is a quote from the Danish philosopher Sψren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), and while it may seem pretentious, it's an album that does a lot to belie its roots. This is for those who like super technical music infused with more moody arrangements and lyrics that question existence and ooze despair. That said, it comes no where near the brilliance of A Sceptic's Universe, but then what does?

Twisted Into Form: Then Comes Affliction To Awaken the Dreamer
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-10-25 07:30:30
My Score:

Fans have been waiting for the debut from Twisted Into Form for some time. Considering it's taken them a few years to put Then Comes Affliction To Awaken the Dreamer together, the progressive metal public has been holding their breath in anticipation, hoping that the next great technical metal band will appear. Does it live up to the expectations? Well, considering that Twisted Into Form consists of former Spiral Architect guitarist Kaj Gornitzka, original Spiral Architect session singer Leif Knashaug, Extol drummer David Husvik, and bassist Erik Aadland, the album should be good, and it is.

Mixed by the famed Neil Kernon, you can pretty much guess that the album sounds terrific. This is complex stuff from start to finish, with songs that invoke images of Zero Hour, Spiral Architect, Death, Cynic, Gordian Knot, Watchtower, early Extol, and Dream Theater. It's pretty fitting that Twisted Into Form finds their way onto the Sensory Records label, as Ken Golden and company have a knack for bringing some of the best prog and technical metal bands into light the last few years. The first thing you notice when making your first pass through the CD is that the guitar of Gormitzka and bass of Aadland are perfectly in synch with each other, as each weaves incredibly intense and intricate melody lines and riffs around each other, while Husvik's drum work is ever so nimble yet powerful. The vocals of Knashaug at first will take a little getting used to, and while he sings in a mostly clean voice, at times his attack is a little dissonant and jarring, but it totally works with this style of stop/start song arrangment. He's a cross between former Fates Warning belter John Arch, Ozzy, and Under the Sun singer/guitarist Chris Shryack.

There's plenty of standout tracks here, like the manic intensity of "Enter Nothingness", the mix of fusion and metal on "The Thin Layers of Lust and Love" (complete with some neat Middle Eastern motiffs and Jaco Pastorius like bass grooves), and the crushing juggernaut that is "Manumit", a futuristic piece with a mix of clean and growling vocals and super complex musicianship. Fans of more atmospheric and melodic material will love the progressive "Erased", which sees Gormitzka throw in some wild Steve Howe inspired acoustic and electric guitar solos amidst some jazzy rhythms.

Quite honestly there are so many layers to be uncovered here you shouldn't expect all this to sink in on the first few listens. Let's hope Twisted Into Form are around for the long haul, because if this is just a start, there's no telling what these guys can do with a little more seasoning together.

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