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Golem - Dreamweaver

Golem - Dreamweaver
April 12, 2006, 03:32:39 PM
I haven't heard the early works of this band so I can't use them as a comparison, but I think that with this album Golem were onto something.

For Death Metal this is particularly dreamy, thus I'm guessing the band were at least somewhat versed in the early Norwegian Black Metal scene.

The album itself is often mechanical in aesthetic, at times reminding me of 'TWttG' era-Blut Aus Nord, but it has a different atmosphere. The album induces images of a soul lost amongst a mechanical society, surrounded by articificiality, terrifyingly alone. I think that it serves to remind us that no matter how far we distance ourselves from Nature via technology there will always be beauty for the one who seeks it. Thus, it recognizes the lasting nature of Beauty, worshipping it as an eternal form. The wandering, dreamy melodies seem to emphasise well the pursuit of Beauty, contrasted ingeniously against raging dissonance that serves as a symbol of obscurity that veils its form.

Of course, you could also interpret this as the perception of the beauty inherent amongst Chaos, but this doesn't quite fit with the sonic qualities of the album.

Mayhaps the album doesn't reach the rare occurence of perfection, but I must say it provides a good building block for someone wishing to further Death Metal as art.

Feel free to add some thoughts of your own on this album/band, but please avoid moron posts in the vein of 'this sucks' or 'great riffs, man.'

Re: Golem - Dreamweaver
April 12, 2006, 05:55:02 PM
I think they are decent, and "Dreamweaver" goes in some interesting directions, but for a band that is a 100%-CARCASS "Necroticism"-era knock-off (circa "The Weeping Horizons), they certainly get a lot of praise as the typical great-but-overlooked band that everyone should seek.  

Those are my thoughts on the "band" (as they are commonly perceived), but I should spin "Dreamweaver" a few more times to make certain of my opinion of that disc in particular.  If my memory is correct, even that album retains some of the CARCASSisms that disappointed me in the earlier work.

Re: Golem - Dreamweaver
April 12, 2006, 06:01:04 PM
I think they are decent, and "Dreamweaver" goes in some interesting directions, but for a band that is a 100%-CARCASS "Necroticism"-era knock-off (circa "The Weeping Horizons), they certainly get a lot of praise as the typical great-but-overlooked band that everyone should seek.  

I remember thinking this opinion was based on comparing technique rather than composition, but I haven't heard Carcass in forever so I won't swear to that.

Re: Golem - Dreamweaver
April 12, 2006, 06:05:30 PM
I really enjoy this album.  The drumming on this is fantastic.  I don't really hear much carcass in it though.

The album's riffs seem so sane, yet the drumming is insane. I will have to throw it for a few more spins, but the last track is absolutly amazing.

Re: Golem - Dreamweaver
April 13, 2006, 01:24:17 AM
They're from Germany.

Thanks for the thoughts, guys. I'd hate to be picky but I'd also love some comments on the content of this band, not just the form alone. I'm sure that my interpretation isn't the only one possible.

Re: Golem - Dreamweaver
April 13, 2006, 02:13:09 AM

I remember thinking this opinion was based on comparing technique rather than composition, but I haven't heard Carcass in forever so I won't swear to that.

You might be right, but I know it was blatant enough to stop me from listening to it in further depth.  

Perhaps an upload is in order?  ;D

Re: Golem - Dreamweaver
April 13, 2006, 05:46:40 AM
I've had this album for a few months now but have only given it a handful of listens; I guess in those initial listens there just wasn't anything that stood out and grabbed me as being particularly intriguing.

I'll try to give it a few more listens this weekend and post some thoughts.

Re: Golem - Dreamweaver
April 13, 2006, 07:08:07 PM
I'd hate to be picky but I'd also love some comments on the content of this band, not just the form alone. I'm sure that my interpretation isn't the only one possible.

Mentioning "CARCASSisms" was not solely aesthetic commentary.  Besides, you said nothing of content; you gave a single-word description of how the production sounded ("mechanical") and delved into a number of interpretations of the music with no actual grounding whatever.  What, musically, invokes images of a soul lost among mechanical society, surrounded by artificiality, etc?  With no sarcasm, I would seriously like you tell me where (or why) those things seem apparent on a musical level.

Thanks to this post I gave a casual re-listen to the "Dreamweaver" album today.  Exoterically, I still maintain this album is primarily influenced by CARCASS, for the following reasons, aesthetic and musical:
-The dual vocals are a particularly generous stylistic borrowing they continue to use frequently.
-A lot of the riffs have the staccato, angular feel of the "Necroticism" era, and more often that not form the root of their songs.
-The solos are pure "Necroticism" era Michael Amott: showy and fully rooted in melodic heavy metal.

Beyond that, a lot of newer MORBID ANGEL seems to creep in as well, particularly in the faster/blasting sections.  This is by far where the band shows off their greatest penchant for dissonance, which is mostly short lived and not central to the composition.

When I said earlier "they go in some interesting directions," I must have been referring to the ocassional reverb soaked open-ended phrasing and appregios that they tend to use mostly for relief.  If built upon more heavily, they could be the seeds of something rather unique within death metal, but as they stand they seem more an afterthought of composition and a means by which to seperate the more traditional riffing and avoid redundancy.

As an additional comment, I don't hear the production as so much "mechanical," but rather a typical modern death metal production, with all the digital qualities that come along with it.  If anything was intentional it was the full-on reverb, but I don't hear much else which indicates there was any particular impetus toward some kind of lifeless presentation.

I will leave the esotericism for others, but my original opinion stands in that I think this band is competent, and DOES have certainly some decent ideas, but is mostly unsatisfying when taken as a whole.  Thanks to your upload of "The Weeping Horizons" I may be eating my words later, but we'll see. ;D

[Edit: grammar.]

Re: Golem - Dreamweaver
April 13, 2006, 09:27:52 PM
Well, to completely honest I've not quite figured out why it gives me this impression. Here's what I'll do: let me have the weekend (give or take Monday) to figure something out and I'll post my comments here.

Thanks for your thoughts, by the way.  ;D

Re: Golem - Dreamweaver
April 14, 2006, 04:20:18 AM
So I gave this album a thorough inspection last night and I have to say that I still don’t understand why “Dreamweaver” has received so much critical acclaim. Though the guitarists’ present each note with one of modern metal’s most pleasurable tones and are certainly more than competent at creating creative, compelling riffs within the death metal mold, the painfully plain percussive performance and plagiaristic, pseudo-tri-vocal attack are particularly repellent. The overall result is a listening experience that is really only enjoyable if one can tune out the bland drum beats (a task that is quite difficult given the fact that Eric Krebs’ entire drum kit would sound about the same if each piece was replaced with hardened, synthetically-constructed shits) and copy-cat Carcass-isms that are present in the band’s vocal/guitar soloing style.

Re: Golem - Dreamweaver
April 18, 2006, 04:04:30 PM
Okay, I've returned to the album over the weekend and written down some thoughts. I'm not completely convinced that I've nailed it, but hopefully this will give you some idea as to where the hell I'm coming from.

I thought it best to write a review:

Great monoliths swirl ambiguously, far above in the darkened skies. A low murmur echoes in a vast area pitted with towers that hide the ground from the bringer of light. From above, the way the bird flies, the tiny creatures that swarm amongst this abode take the significance of ants fleeing in an unpredictable manner from one spot to the next. Whilst such meaningless commotion grinds on within this giant machine, a soul wanders all alone, confused and looking for a sign that anything is real within this artificial world of grey, hoping one day to understand…

Germany’s Golem, with their 2004 opus ‘Dreamweaver’ have created a perplexing atmosphere that is doused in the artificiality of a machine-like world, yet a place where it is possible that dreams can pervade and weave majestically throughout this desolate landscape, only seen by those with a keen eye for Beauty. On this level, the basis of the album isn’t too far estranged from Blut Aus Nord’s “The Work Which Transforms God”, but as we will see Golem implement an approach that differs from that of the said band’s twisted dissonance.

Most likely the first realisation that will be made by the listener is towards the production - it is dry, lifeless and for the most part invariant. It is reminiscent of something that a Metalcore band might employ, but by some bizarre act of irony it seems to work quite well in this context. Like a miracle it conjures images steeped in a greyish tinge. When mixed with the angular, staccato riffs which are taken straight out of the book of Carcass circa ‘Necroticism’ they are made to sound rigid in their flow, as if bound to a corresponding entity. The band drive the flat, detuned, toneless palm-muted rhythm sound right into the ground. The eminent theme of greyness is likely to draw forth images of something metallic. At times the band sound washed out, perhaps this is accentuated by the reverb effect that they attach to some of their phrasing. The rigidity and routine nature of the riffing, when mixed with this facet, resembles a machine as it churns along heartlessly at its programmed labour.

The laborious nature of production doesn’t end there. The drum sound is ridiculously over-produced, so much so that it is tinny and flat. There isn’t a great deal of variation in technique either – expect an occasional blast section, accompanied by the usual Metal double-kick, snare and cymbal idiom elsewhere. Thus, again it sounds like a jumble of machine code whirling inside the chipboard of a robot as it performs some sort of perfunctory task, ad nauseam into infinity.

There was a brief mention of the reverb soaked phrasing above, this is used in correlation with the arpeggios, thus these sound washed out - which reminds me of the lonely depressed intermissions of the Black Metal variety, in particular those of Manes least bombastic moments. The band uses these for relief, and they fit in cosily with the grey theme, but this also gives the feeling of contemplation and solitude. When juxtaposed against the swirling nature of the Morbid Angel-esque (latter day) blast sections, the aforementioned Carcassisms and drawn out tremolo sections it gives the impression of a soul wandering through a monstrous city, full of alien structures, garnished with lifeless people machine-coded as slaves. It is here that the listener is given a glimpse of the crushing feeling of loneliness and social incongruity.

On the contrary to the more dissonant riffing is the exquisite lead-work. This is particularly reminiscent of its Heavy Metal roots ala those of Michael Amott. Although, at times there is a slight ‘folkish’ tinge of Germanic origin here and there, which takes the style a little further. As mentioned, this is in complete contrast to the surging Death Metal sections, the depression fuelled arpeggios and the occasional traditional Doom inspired motif. Thus, it acquires an almost joyous air through this contrast. The feeling is of a dream weaving unimpeded through a hostile landscape. At the beginning of the album these moments are of a brief duration – the band quickly reverting to a more chaotic style. This emanates images of something lost amongst a rabble of incomprehensible forces. But, these ‘indicators of Beauty’ become more and more frequent as this musical journey proceeds to its climax. It is almost as if it were an analogy that not only can Beauty be found as long as life persists, no matter how much we try to surround our world with artificial trappings, but the more that Beauty is pursued as an esoteric experience the more one can find it in their life – much like the teachings of Diotima in Plato’s ‘Symposium.’

All of this being said, there are some shortcomings to the album, despite it communicating some solid ideas. It may be said that the band does not go nearly far enough with the style and at times when they do it is forced and stale. There are also a few too many bland ‘half’ riffs that make some sections formulaic and predictable. But, there are plenty of ideas that are worthy of further exploration and development. Perhaps a lack of creative spirit was what stopped the band from writing an out and out classic.

Re: Golem - Dreamweaver
April 18, 2006, 04:51:56 PM
The thought you put into that is much appreciated!  Most of your points are well taken and I can better understand their articulation.

Tangentially: any particular feelings on the "Le Sacre du Printemps" adaptation?

Re: Golem - Dreamweaver
April 18, 2006, 05:33:21 PM
Cheers. I thank you for your initial criticisms, it definitely gave me a reason to figure out why I interpreted the album in such a way. Such discussions are extremely helpful in understanding music on a higher plane, I've come to find. This forum would do very well to include more analysis of this type in the hope that we can learn from each other's thoughts. I feel that people often refrain from criticizing (for whatever reason) thus we always stay at point A.

To be completely honest, I've not heard the original composition of Le Sacre du Printemps. Classical music is far from my forte. Perhaps you, or someone else, could upload a reasonable performance of it? That would be much appreciated!