APRIL 21st 2015

Review by Anka

Atmospheric metal has found a strong following these days, and moreover, derivate genres with black metal or shoegaze tones have been borrowing the melancholic sonorities abundantly. We’ve got some hybrids, and there’s nothing wrong with that – it is the normal course music should be taking, evolving, and growing. Abandoned Palace is yet another new name that joins this genre’s cluster of bands. Hailing from Vancouver, the one man project brings out the beautiful sound of melancholic metal mixed with heavy, dark riffs and the characteristic clean vocals paired up with wailing shrieks. 

Not another one, you say? Have you really had enough of the genre? For the fans of this music, there is never too much of this, and discovering a new band is the only moment of pure joy before the sweet misery experience of listening to it.

Well here’s another one for you. Made in a DYI fashion (and sounding like that, but without prejudicing the atmospheric quality) Abandoned Palace’s debut EP will take you on a slow-paced journey through bleak and maudlin tones transposed in great song writing. Escapist as you may be, if you’re looking for a purely atmospheric/ ambient experience, then the inevitable growls might turn you off, because that part of the vocals doesn’t contribute much to the atmospheric potential but it certainly adds a dismal heaviness that will please the grim-faced fans. On the other hand, the emotionless clean vocals hint at a shoegaze-y experience with their disinterested feel.  The balance between the two types of vocals, as standard as it might sound for the genre, is actually refreshing, even though all vocals often happen to get pushed in the background of the whole soundscape.

From melancholy to neurotic heaviness, the redeeming moments are those when you can sweeten up your despair with a dose of inspired melodic lines that are the definite highlight of the entire album.  The first track starts out on a somewhat turbulent note, only to mellow down with frail clean vocals and some chilling keyboard notes. The haunting guitars are sure to stick in your head after this round, especially since the second track is bound to take you on an unenthusiastic stroll, with linear melodies and slow riffage. The pace picks up on the next track “The Ghosts of Old” with a catchy rhythmic cadence, roaring vocals mingled with the guitar riffs, and here is also where we probably have the best chorus on the entire release. The last track brings some nice guitar work and a bit more of a death metal feel throughout.

A debut EP that is surprisingly consistent, heavy yet loaded with beautiful melodies, unpretentious in terms of production - but the occasional murkiness surely adds to the feel of the whole experience and doesn’t take away from the quality of the songs. Eagerly anticipating a full release!