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lunes, 20 de febrero de 2017

White Willow - Terminal Twilight (2011)


Les dejo este discazo ya publiado de otra gran bando poco valorada, así que hacemos n poco de justicia y les presentamos este rock progresivo noruego sutilísimo, bello, melancólico, desconcertante, espectral, a veces dulce y otras siniestro, en un trabajo al que deben prestar atención para poder apreciarlo como se debe, toda una perlita llena de musicalidad y misterio. Discazo imperdible!

Artista: White Willow
Álbum: Terminal Twilight
Año: 2011
Género: Rock sinfónico
Duración: 56:43
Nacionalidad: Noruega

Lista de Temas:
1. Hawks Circle the Mountain
2. Snowswept
3. Kansas Regrets
4. Red Leaves
5. Floor 67
6. Natasha of the Burning Woods
7. Searise
8. A Rumour of twilight

Alineación:
- Jacob Holm-Lupo / guitars
- Lars Fredrik Froislie / keyboards
- Sylvia Skjellestad / vocals
- Mattias Olsson / drums
- Ketil Vestrum Einarsen / flutes, woodwinds
- Ellen Andrea Wang / bass
Guest musician:
Tim Bowness/vocals (3)
David Lundberg/fender rhodes and wurlitzer (3), orchestration (2)
Michael S Judge/ guitar solo (1)

Sigo con mi listado de los mejores álbums del 2011, ahora le llega el turno a una banda que respeto profundamente desde hace años, que ha sacado discos geniales (banda para mí poco valorada y conocida). En especial este disco me resulta buenísimo: hermoso, pasional, desgarrador, dulce, hipnótico, embriagador, inquietante (casi tenebroso por momentos), y bellamente melancólico, es que produce todo eso a lo largo de las canciones. Luego de escuchar su ultimo año en... bueno, no recuerdo pero hace mucho, vuelven al juego con sus mejores cartas (y entre ellas está su cantante original, con esa voz femenina tan bella, alejada por algún tiempo de la banda) y dan como resultado una de sus mejores obras. No se si será por las pocas horas de luz solar de que disponen los escandinavos, pero a la hora de ponerse (y ponernos) melancólicos son los primeros, y este trabajo desprende tristeza por los poros, pero no me malentiendan, una tristeza hermosa, bella y sublime... de la que te encoje el corazón y el alma. Y también hay un cierto aire misterioso y siniestro, tanto como se puede apreciar en todas las tapas del grupo. No algo cercano al horror, sino sutiles toques inquietantes y desconcertantes, como la leve caricia de un fantasma, o como la inquietud de esas dos mellizas perdidas en la noche del bosque que tienen en su tapa, que mezclado con esa tristeza hace erizar la piel (al llegar al tema 7. "Searise" el disco alcanza el clímax que se venía preveyendo desde que comenzó, temazo que pone los pelos de punta). Tienen muy bien logrado ese clima casi espectral (ya sea intencionalmente o porque lo llevan en su sangre y en su cultura, algo propio del folcklore del su tierra) que pretenden lograr. Quizás a muchos los pueda confundir y parecer una obra (relativamente) sencilla, grosso error, es un trabajo lleno de sutilezas musicales, al que debemos prestar atención para poder apreciarlo (y disfrutarlo) como se merece. Para mí uno de los mejores del 2011, sino el mejor, de una banda buenísima.
No puedo ocultar que la banda noruega White Willow es una de mis favoritas, y los aprecio tanto como a las mejores bandas de rock progresivo de los 70s. Dicho esto, ha sido un gran placer el recibir hace unos días su sexto disco "Terminal Twilight" y encontrar que White Willow lo hizo nuevamente: este es trabajo que mantiene la tradición de WW de cambiar constantemente su estilo, es diferente a los anteriores, muy maduro y de gran calidad. Primero que nada, quiero mencionar que hay dos miembros que retornan a la banda: la vocalista Sylvia Skejllestad ( o Sylvia Erichsen ) y el baterista-percusionista Mattias Olsson quien estuvo en el segundo trabajo de WW "Ex Tenebris". No esta de mas recordar que Mattias fue el brillante baterista en los dos discos de la espectacular banda sueca Anglagard. ¿Cómo se compara este trabajo de WW, el sexto, con los anteriores? Como ya explique anteriormente todos son diferentes, pero sin embargo si hay algunos elementos en común. La oscura melancolía que marca casi todos los temas de WW y que se convierte en música que puede ser a la vez delicada y desgarradora, dura y áspera , para momentos después derivar a secciones maravillosamente sinfónicas, se encuentra aquí perfectamente expresada. Este es un disco que puede ser muy bello , muy oscuro, delicado, rítmico, pulsante, y la melancolia y la tristeza pueden por momentos arrancar alguna lágrima. Por otro lado , sin llegar a las cotas de fuerza casi heavy de Storm Season, logra también secciones muy fuertes y poderosas. El compositor principal y líder de WW, el guitarrista Jacob Holm Lupo ha sabido llevar este proyecto a la perfección, pese a que mantiene un perfil bajo en el disco. Su intervención instrumental es a través de delicados pasajes de guitarra acústica. Los elementos mas importantes en la música son las capas tras capas de teclados a cargo de Lars Froislie, que le dan gran parte de su sonido al disco, el trabajo extraordinario de Mattias Olson en la percusión, un trabajo que supera largamente su participación en "Ex Tenebris" y la voz maravillosa de Sylvia. Aunque la vocalista Trude Eitang hizo un buen trabajo en Signal to Noise, Sylvia se hizo extrañar. Ketil Einarsen en los vientos cumple un papel adecuado , pero no siento que destaque, mientras que la nueva bajista Ellen Andrea Wang se adecua y mimetiza bien con la banda. Emocionalmente, situaría a este trabajo entre "Ex Tenebris" y "Storm Season". La tristeza fluye de un tema a otro, pero por momentos trasmite mas angustia, una "oscura agonía del alma" y por momentos mas furia. Revisando los temas mas importantes, me impactaron el tema de entrada "Hawks Circle the Mountain", "Searise", "Floor 67" , pero todos los temas son buenos, incluyendo los mas cortos y delicados. Los seguidores de White Willow , y en general del progresivo sinfonico escandinavo, apreciarán esta nueva entrega , que incluyo junto a "Beyond the Shrouded Horizon" de Steve Hacket, entre lo mejor que he escuchado este año 2011. Recomendado.
Joal
Authors Note: I'm writing this review after only 2 listens and so should be considered an "initial impression" and will be updated sometime in the future, if I remember, once its settled in more. For those of you that frequent the forums here, you may remember a thread about bands that "Can do no Wrong" and for me only one name came to mind, White Willow. Then, a couple of months ago when Jacob Holm-Lupo announced the forthcoming release of this album, Terminal Twilight, he also posted a 10 minute Youtube sample which got me very excited and also prompted me to re-visit the bands discography and refresh my mind on just how good they are. What I'm trying to get at here is that a new White Willow album comes with very high expectations on my part, to the point that they are one of only two bands that I place such heavy demands on the quality of the music they release. So I'm part elated and part relieved to say that White Willow have very much matched those expectations. Anyone familiar with White Willow will know that each of their previous five albums is unique in its sound, but they each shared in a common atmosphere, that of dark melancholia but with absolute beauty, and that has held true on Terminal Twilight as well. In terms of its overall sound its probably best described as a loose blend of Sacrament and Storm Season in that it has the classic 70's symphonic sound of the former but can be very heavy like the latter. That heaviness, though, should not be confused with Metal under any circumstance. Storm Season may have been characterised by heavy guitar riffs but Terminal Twilight creates its heaviness through a blend of Lars Fredrick Frøislie's expansive keyboard sounds, Jacob Holm-Lupo's guitars and Ellen Andrea Wang's growling 5-string bass. Its a massive wall of sound with a great deal of depth and detail used to stunning effect, particularly on the dark opening track, Hawks Circle the Mountain. And that leads me on to a great point in this albums favour, its use of dynamic range. Holm-Lupo and Frøislie have clearly spent a lot of time and effort on the production here so that you get caught up in the close, intimate feeling, quiet sections before being blown away by the full band as they storm in through the speakers. Yet it all feels so natural, the quiet sections are never too quiet and the loud parts are never too loud, striking a comfortable balance whilst still having a clearly determined difference in volume level. And that spreads over into all aspects of the albums production, all instruments are clearly audible and only the keyboards seem to dominate the mix, but then this is definitely a more keyboard oriented album than the last couple of White Willow albums have been. Now, I doubt I'm the only one to have noticed but much of the modern Symphonic Prog produced seems to be very much "retro prog" in that it clearly harks back to the classics of the 70's without changing things too much, and that's not always a bad thing as Swedish legends Anglagard have proved (and who's drummer, Mattias Olsson, offers a superb turn on percussion here) as have sister band Wobbler (for me most notably on the medieval tinged Afterglow), but there's definitely too many soundalikes out there. Thankfully, White Willow have never been one of those, from their heavily folk influenced early albums to the Neo Prog of Signal to Noise that have always had an identity all their own, displaying their influences without getting trapped by them. On top of that they've been changing their sound constantly, and they've changed it again for Terminal Twilight. Ironically, this album is the one, of their six, that is most likely to be considered a throw-back to the 70's, largely from the way that the sound is dominated by Frøislies unashamed armada of vintage keyboards and the way that the guitars only really come to the fore for solos and acoustic passages in a manner reminiscent of many classic prog bands. It has to be said, though, that there is no mistaking Frøislies playing on this album. The style of play and sound use that he has developed, and almost exclusively uses in White Willow (and to a lesser extent in his Black Metal band In Lingua Mortua whilst almost never in Wobbler), is unique to him and he displays this talent excellently. Of the songs themselves, its easiest to consider them as the longs and the shorts. Of the long tracks, the opener Hawks Circle the Mountain is by far the darkest track on the album, whilst the main epic, Searise, is one of the most menacing tracks the band has ever produced, helped along by a vocal melody very similar to that of Sally Left from Storm Season. The other three cover much more varied territory emphasising the beauty of White Willows music at least as much as the rock side of things and their ability to weave compositions of many twists and turns. The shorter tracks consist of a slow, atmospheric closer A Rumour of Twilight, reminiscent of Signal to Noises closer Ararat, and another slow building atmospheric song Kansas Regrets, which features the vocal talents of No-Mans Tim Bowness. The other short track, Snowswept, is probably best described as a love song and has a more commercial bent to it than the rest of the album. Holm-Lupo has tried this before on previous albums with only limited success (Joyride is definitely my least favourite White Willow track) but this time the track works really well with strong melodies and good development and most importantly, completely fits in with the feel of the album. One constant of White Willow that I didn't mention previously is that there has been a revolving door policy for just about every instrument in the band. This time round we see the return of two former band members, most notably vocalist Sylvia Skjellestad (nee Erichsen). Her vocal delivery is as strong here as it was last time out on Storm Season and will no doubt please many of the bands long time fans. As previously mentioned, Anglagards Mattias Olson has returned to the band for the first time since 98's Ex Tenebris and performs some brilliant work on the kit, expertly holding the rhythm section whilst supplying some excellent fills. The only all new member to join is bassist Ellen Andrea Wang of little known Norwegian band SynKoke, replacing Martha Berger Walthinsen. She fills the shoes left behind expertly, offering powerful and creative bass lines that work well with Frøislies keyboards and Olssons drums. Hawks Circle the Mountain, Floor 67 and Searise will undoubtedly stay with me for a long time whilst instrumental Natasha of the Burning Woods and Red Leaves will grip my attention every time I hear them. Its safe to say that there are no bad songs on this album and there are several extremely good ones, but if I have one complaint its the track list. I cant help feel that A Rumour of Twilight would have served better as a lead in to main epic Searise, which in itself would have been a brilliant closer, in the same way that the atmospheric A Strange Procession.... leads in to the epic ? A Dance of Shadows on the Ex Tenebris album. I should also note that, while I enjoy the vocals of Sylvia Skjellestad, I miss the vocals of Signal to Noises lead vocalist Trude Eidtang. Though its the only album she appears on she stands out as one of the best female singers in prog with her assertive and emotional delivery. Maybe we can get two lead singers on future albums... 2011 has been a year of consistently strong releases so far but White Willows Terminal Twilight jumps straight to the head of the class, joining Fen's Epoch and UnExpects Fables of the Sleepless Empire as the stand out albums of the year, overshadowing more well known acts like Dream Theater, King Crimson ProjeKcts, Yes and even alter egos Wobbler. Anyone that wants to hear powerful and unique Symphonic Prog that doesn't automatically sound like any one of the 70's greats should give this a very close look, and the same goes for those that likes their music melancholic and dark, but with a touch of beauty to it.
Andrew Carter
Let me paint a picture for you: my windows are streaked with rivulets of rain. The skies are a bluish-grey. The water on the lake behind my house is rippling from shore to shore. The wind is howling and the trees are not so much swaying as dancing, dead leaves flying through the air, spinning and circling aimlessly. Inside, I have a glass of red wine poured and Terminal Twilight, the latest album from White Willow, playing. Join me after the jump to hear my thoughts on this latest venture from the Norwegian prog-rock band. Opening with Hawks Circle, the immediate feeling I got was of a classic Argento horror film. The synths and tones used, as well as the melody, sounded like something out of Suspiria or Dawn Of The Dead. The track sounds like a mixture of the artiness of classic King Crimson and the sludge rock elements of Mastodon, all mixed underneath swirling synths and moody mellotrons. It’s a song that perfectly encompasses all that the listener is about to hear. The production is gorgeous, lush and warm. It’s albums like this that make me remember why I loved truly listening to music in the first place. There is a wide variety of instrumentation going on as well as multiple tones from each instrument. Terminal Twilight is an album that begs for attention and is more than deserving of it. Terminal Twilight is an album full of gorgeous passages and haunting melodies. A Rumor Of Twilight is an instrumental with a lovely acoustic guitar and an almost churchlike choir towards the end. Famed English musician Tim Bowness joins White Willow on the sublime Kansas Regrets, a beautiful, subtle song. The Final Word: Should you every find yourself in a day like the one I described above, this album matches the mood perfectly. Stunningly beautiful, almost heart achingly so, Terminal Twilight unfolds and reveals itself like a painting that shows more and more with each viewing. White Willow may very well have delivered an album that stands next to Leprous’ Bilateral as my Album of the Year.
Jonny B. Para disfrutarlo de principio a fin. Muy muy, pero muy recomendado!

Y por el comentario del conejo maldito me dieron ganas de recordar el gran "Storm Season" (álbum genial como pocos):

7 comentarios:

  1. Este comentario ha sido eliminado por el autor.

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  2. Es precioso este disco, igual el álbum Storm Season lo sigue dejando mal parado a este en mi modesta opinión (?).
    Lo tengo subido entre tantos otros, tengo que ponerme un día de estos ^^

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    Respuestas
    1. Publicalo conejo, es una orden. Yo perdí varias cosas en mi mudanza, que estoy recuperando de a poco, la discografía de esta banda es una de ellas. Y que buena tapa tiene ese álbum!:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9fLJ9bZJb4A

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    2. Lo pedís, lo tenés, para la noche lo posteo ^^

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  3. Genial conejo, yo te debo los de Arbolito porque en el finde no tuve tiempo, pero no me olvido

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  4. FABULOSA BANDA DE LA Q SOY FANATICO,,,GRACIAS POR EL POST,,,AGREGO,,Q LA CANTANTE ORIGINAL EN REALIDAD..SE LLAMA SARA TRONDAL,,,GRACIAS

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