The Sounds of Animals Fighting - Lover, The Lord Has Left Us
Release Date: Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Record Label: Equal Vision Records
First, I'll start off by telling you that I have just recently become a fan of both Circa Survive and Chiodos among other quite progressive Equal Vision additions. Due to this new courtship I have taken a keen liking to The Sounds of Animals Fighting'sLover, The Lord Has Left Us. Now, a word of warning, if you pride yourself on being "open minded" [self procliamed], yet your favourite bands continue to ooze with mediocrity you probably will not like this record. For, it is far from the 'revolutionary, progressive, and earth shattering' Angels and Airwaves. For Christ's sake if that's what your looking for... STOP READING NOW!
The first thing that struck me as odd, and seemed to set the mood for the record, was the names of artists who appeared on this record. They are known as The Hyena, The Nightingale, The Walrus, The Penguin, The Skunk, The Wolf?, The Ram, and The Lynx. The artists kept anonymity for reasons unbeknownst to me. The wierd factor, for me anyway, was through the roof when I first saw a picture of these guys. The first thought that raced through my head was 'Is this some cult or something,' but then I realized that it was not. This was strictly an additional factor which hightens the musical experience.
The record opens with "Intro", a dizzing and confusing array of synthesized static, and deafening horns lacking pitch or tone. This could be seen as a 'turn off to some, as well as to me; however, I recommend you get past this and get into the record. The second and eleventh tracks, "Un'aria," and "Un'aris Ancora," is a short a capella track by The Ram [Craig Owens of Chiodos]. The third track, "Skullflower", begins with swirling guitars and intermittent bursts of distorted feedback. This is all before The Skunk [Anthony Green of Circa Survive] sweeps in with his sleep inducing vocals that could put you in a trance. However, they are interupted twice in the song by a haunting speech in Sanskrit. The fourth song, "My Horse Must Lose", is one of my personal favourites. It begins with a woman speaking in Farsi over the swirling synth beats and various synth riffs. The song then attains a clear and distinct drum beat [yes, from a kit]. This is the point in the song where it picks up with beautiful soft organ tones, and the simple guitar and string riffs containing approximately 5 notes. The song is definitely held upheld by the vocals of The Penguin [Keith Goodwin of Days Away]. This is a beautiful, soft, flowing song which could remind you of a New Amsterdams song with techno beats in the background. Songs five and nine, "Chiracho Summit,"and "The Golden Boy Who Was Swallowed By the Sea," are spoken word interludes with swirling and dizzying synthesized static used in the Intro to the record. Track six, "Horses in the Sky," is another solo for The Ram. I describe it as 'structured disarray'. Where it seems at first that the vocals are extremely off tempo. However, you then realize that it has been perfectly calculated to fit that way. The violin concerti is very well placed; it sticks out, yet blands in at the same time. The transitions in this song are fluid and well constructed. For, the song simply bursts back into the chorus after this 'random' concerti. The seventh track, "Stockhausen, Es Ist Ihr Gehirn, Das Ich Suche," is a soft and flowing song complete with vocals by The Skunk, and German operatics in the middle. The song maintains a constant percussive beat which seems to be someone hitting tin cans and a frying pan. Track eight, "Prayers on Fire," is all haunting and compelling at the same time. It revolves around the Farsi [or Sanskrit] vocals. This is a track I would usually skip over; yet, I am always compelled to listen to it. Track ten, "This Heat," is one of my other favourites. It begins with a synth bass line and complicated drumming, which is pleasing to the ear in every way. It features the vocals of The Wolf? [Matthew Kelly of the Autumns]. This song is clearly the masterpiece of the record and seems to synthesize the entire record. Track twelve, "St. Broadrick is in Antarctica," is a strange medley of vocal 'bop' shots and spoken word interuptions. Still, a solid track. Track thirteen, "The Heretic," is also one of my favourites, and seems to cap off the record very well. It opens with lamenting vocals and synth pads, along with a beautiful piano solo. It has potential to move people to tears and emmits emotion greater than any other track on the record. The final track, "There Can Be No Dispute That Monsters Live Among Us," is a talk-sung essay inspired by Karlheim Stockhausen's lectures on music.
It is evident that each song has been written from the ground up. Meaning, each song begins with the drums and instruments are then added in. This is evident throughout the record, as one can see that each song is driven primarily by rhythm and beat. The record is laced with tempo changes, language changes, guest appearences, and most of all, talent. This is a spectacular record and is truly 'progressive.' This is a little too wierd to make The Sounds of Animals Fighting big; however, it will definitely get them noticed. If you are fan of hearing something that is actually new, pick this record up. It is truly unique and you will not be disappointed.
Ok, just one problem with this. I KNOW Keith Goodwin sings This Heat on here, but the guy says sombody else does. And that dosent sound like him on the heritic or the third track either, i think its the guy he names for this heat. anyway im a huge days away fan so i should know. just thought id point that out
I thoroughly enjoyed the first TSOAF release [Tiger and the Duke] for its collaboration of those involved, and also due to the overall outcome of the album's sound thanks to insight from all of them, specifically Matt Embree. This second release has those same two things that I like, with a different blend of people this time, and more feeling shown throughout the entire cd. I enjoyed them both a lot, and I'm jealous of anyone that gets to see any of their 4-6 shows in August (CA area and one in Las Vegas?) Hopefully they'll be recorded and put on DVD like I've heard, but that's the rumor mill for you - can't depend on it.
I also agree that this album caught a little too much slack. It's definitely their weirdest, but as you put it, their most progressive. It's a musical journey, for sure, and you summed up the stops on that journey well.