April 30, 2011

Music Review: Clandestine - The Invalid

The InvalidIs it possible to like and not like something at the same time? I like to think this is a possibility as I often encounter things, be it music, movies, or something else entirely, that has my affections torn in two opposite directions. It is like I know is should dislike something just as I find myself liking whatever it may be. I have found myself I his situation as I listen to Clandestine's debut fell length album, The Invalid. They seem to want to strike a chord somewhere between Lacuna Coil/Evanescence-esque melodic metal inflected with some pop hooks and heaviness, and Dream Theater-esque progressive metal tendencies. For the most part it is a success but there is somehow about it that just doesn't quite do it for me.

The Invalid wins points with is impeccable production values. This seriously sounds great. Each instrument has nice crisp sound at just the right levels and does not sacrifice feel and emotion. In other words, he songs do not suffer to achieve that great mix/production as I have heard on albums in the past where the music has been scrubbed of any human sounding element making it sound like it had been created on a synth.

Clandestine have crafted a nice album that I would like nothing other than to say sounds like a collection of their influences, but that would be disingenuous and flat out wrong. While some of he influential elements are fairly clear, they do a good job of forging their own way, incorporating those influences rather than merely copying them.

The band is fronted by June Parks, who has a pretty strong voice. It is not an operatic style and may not be as immediately powerful as other female fronted acts (like Amy Lee, for example), however see does have a good range and the band has a good idea of how to tailor the songs to her strengths, ranging from near straight up metal to softer moments which recall Gwen Stefani in her No Doubt days.

Still, I cannot help but feel like I shouldn't be enjoying this. While it is true I am not exactly in love with this album, there is a lot to like and enough to fight the inexplicable urge to dislike. The songs are crafted well, the band knows their strengths and clearly are working to show those elements off, plus they are no afraid to play some electronic elements to expand their sound, not to mention they are willing o inject some death metal style growls on occasion. I like that.

While certainly not destined for a lot of play, there are a few songs I have to recommend. Be sure to spend some time with "Fearless," "Philistine," and "Phantom Pain," these are The best and choicest cuts here.


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