Fearscape - Sleeping In Light (Rowe Productions) 2004
Fearscape are yet another extreme metal export from Australia's Rowe Productions. Fearscape combine death metal and some melodic, atmospheric parts to create a sound that is comparable to Opeth. Musically, the band is all over the map. There are a lot of dynamics within each song, and most songs are long. There are plenty of tempo chances and stop-on-a-dime parts. Despite the death metal tag, the band is actually more mellow than the average grunt and grind death metal band. For instance, the albums closer is an acoustical instrumental "Last of the Celts". Actually, the band often switches to their clean channels throughout this album. "Flight of Icarus" is an instrumental that mostly features some melodic bass playing. (This is not a cover of the Iron Maiden song, although that would have been cool.) Fortunately Fearscape avoids most "core" elements and sticks to playing metal. This is a huge plus in my book. Most extreme bands, especially coming out of the small Christian scene seem to be stuck in the metalcore mode.
"Sleeping in Light" also features a range of vocal styles from death growls to high pitched shrieks to clean singing. There are even some "operatic" female vocals mixed in. The grinding death vocals are of great quality and are pretty easily understood. Unfortunately the clean parts aren't up to the quality of the more aggressive vocals. Writing this after the album has been out for a while gives me the advantage of having read a little about the recording process. About the clean vocals, vocalist Matt Brown had this to say, "In hindsite I should have waited a week before doing the clean vocals as I literally could not speak for about 4 days during the recording of the album - a lesson learned." Still, his clean vocals aren't bad either. I am sure that on the next release we will hear much improved clean vox from Matt. It's also noteworthy to mention that the lyrics on this album are very positive and refreshing
The overall vibe of the album is quite good. Since receiving it in the mail a month ago, I've given it several spins. It is most definitely one of those "mood" discs that I need to be in the mood to hear. I look forward to hearing Fearscape's follow-up.
1. "Scent of Divine Blood" (10:13)
This album is almost an offense to the senses. The music is beautiful, well played and contains some nice melody, solid musicianship and great riffs. At times I am reminded of bands like Opeth. The music moves and flows with both heavy, brutal metal passages and melancholy moments. It's all quite progressive without being overly technical. Then there are the vocals which are, for the most part, death metal growls. It's such a contrast that at times I love it and at times I hate it. I feel the same way about Opeth at times. I don't know that that is a bad thing. Actually, it may be a good thing. Without a doubt, "Scent of Divine Blood" is mood music for me. It's almost like Pink Floyd. This is not something you are going to listen to when you want to "rock out", but it might be something for those moments when you just want to chill, listen and enjoy.