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Embassy of Silence - Verisimilitude

Embassy of Silence - CD Review




CD Info
Inverse Records
8 tracks
English lyrics


Embassy of Silence has long been one of my favorite bands, I’ve covered much of what they’ve released. But, saying that, I don’t always cover bands on their second and third releases, in fact, I generally like to leave later releases to someone else. But, Ines Lukkanen and the boys have never disappointed and I always go out of my way to cover their material, with never a moment’s hesitation. This one is no exception. As with anyone, there are things that appeal to me, they may not be the same with you. But, I want interesting sounds, the music better be beyond what we get with typical rock n roll. But it has to go beyond that. This is a femme metal site, you better have a femme vox that captures my interest or you’re in the “not gonna make it” pile. And, finally, you better have something to say, and say it in an interesting way. EOS has never failed in that respect.

The band is from Finland, a land that, for some strange reason, seems to deliver an inordinate number of solid metal sounds. Would that the good ol’ US of A could have half as many. But, EOS is not hard to differentiate from other sounds, even those from Finland. And Ines, the lead vocalist, has a lot to do with that. But, in a larger sense, EOS has always had something to say. I asked Ines if there was a theme with this release, her response, as usual, was to the point, “I don't know if there's a theme, really, we never plan our albums around a specific theme. However, ‘Verisimilitude’ is a word that means ‘as close to truth as possible’, and it is a notoriously difficult word to use right in a sentence, hence it has fascinated me for a while now. If one would have to think of something the songs have in common, it is kinda like a time journey from the 70's to this day, and one can really hear it in the influences and vibes of the songs. I mean, we have tango-powerpop, we have 70's party rock, we have 90's goth metal in the style of Type 0 Negative, there's jazz, there's trip-hop…”. In other words, EOS has a lot to say about a lot of things, both lyrically and musically.

You always want to look for new directions with a release, even though I think that may be a weak way to look at music. Did you really expect the Beatles to sound different on every release? But, it’s a topic that probably needs to be explored, especially given that this release IS different is some basic respects from previous efforts. Generally speaking, I don’t see that as a positive, but with this one it’s clearly obvious that Ines’ vocals are utilized in a broader range of styles. I mean, she’s got a great voice but I never heard it used in this many ways. I had to ask her about it, “As to the other part, we always strive for improvement, progress and excellence. We as musicians and composers keep on challenging ourselves, pushing that much further on every album, trying a bit harder. It's awesome to know that people seem to pick up on it, I've personally had the goal of using as wide a range and variety within my vocal capabilities as I can, and I seem to get a bit ‘closer and closer to truth’ on every album we put out there.” Well, I gave up on the topic of truth after the Bush administration but, at least from a musical perspective, Ines comes as close to that version of truth as anyone I’ve ever heard.

We get directly to those interesting uses of Ines’s vocals with the first track, Shame, Spin and Click. But her vocals aren’t the only interesting musical tricks on this little ditty. There’s a killer beat, a lot of metal, a lot of sound from various parts of the spectrum but all there to support one of the great vocals in the genre. And, as usual, Ines has things to talk about:

The finger’s on the trigger / The poison’s in the ring
One of these days I swear I’ll be gone / One way or another
I’ll run out of songs to sing / One of these days my days will be done
I’m running out of chambers...

Ines often takes things in a violent direction, this isn’t the first track that’s had s bit of violence to make it interesting. And that thread is carried out on more than one occasion here. But, there are other themes, Ines isn’t beyond talking about things of a more ethereal nature. The second track, Thimble, turns it down a bit and gives us a bit of the beautiful, something you can do with Ines with little trouble. But, even here, we go with multiple musical directions. This is a capability EOS has demonstrated before, and the end of the track provides another sound the band seems to have down pat, a crushing metal delivered by guitars that rock the heavens.

Absurdoscope is one of the more interesting tracks, from a number of perspectives. You get some of the best vocals, some of the best sound, and some of the best feeling. This one takes us in multiple directions. You get contemporary musical sounds, but with a treatment of the vocals that is entirely beyond what we typically experience. However, this one is clearly intended to point back to previous sounds. The lyrics speak to me in so many ways:

There’s no crueler God than love / None more generous beyond
I choose my own pantheon / Your prophets cannot lead me on

I’m not in need of a flock to decide for me / Nor have I forsaken hope
Beelzebub has no devil put aside for me / I see it all through absurdoscope

I’m not strictly anti-religion / I am, tongue in cheek, anti-everything
No pre-made mythology can convince me to bow my head
No conspiratorial forgery / Can resurrect me from the dead

I’m not in need of a flock to decide for me…

Damn, I’ve never heard life explained better. But, at the end of the track, Ines chuckles and comments:

Dude, the 80s called, they want their solo back. . . .” followed by a dark laughter. Is nothing sacred? Guess not. Someone get my Russian medicine.

If you’re getting the impression that the lyrics here are at least as good as the music you’re finally catching on. This is a lyrical beauty beyond pretty much anything I ever heard, and I’ve written stuff that was suppose to be pretty good. Another case for the prosecution, Flamer:

You pseudo-Machiavellian butt-munch
Re-inventing the wheel in school philosophy class
A Nietzsche-fanboy and a pain in the ass

Authority in your clique / Loquacious, fantastic
So gracious, it’s classic / Brilliant and slick
I see right through that shtick / Hands on your control-stick / you little prick

Stop it, “butt munch, Nietzsche and little prick” in one song. Beyond my ability to absorb.

Well, all that’s well and good, there are other tracks that certainly require comment. Ines does some nice ballad material. Of Matters Dark and Gray certainly takes us in directions dark and gray. Musically and lyrically the girl can take us to the underside of life with little effort, and she does it with a vox that leaves little to be desired. She even gives us a medical diagnosis that suggests directions that only the darkest Gothic themes can approach. But, the girl is at her best when she takes us to the wild and wonderful. Ines is a lady of the Wild West, and we get that in spades in Hang Me High. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, the girl had a track back in the day called I Ride Alone which made me a legend in a certain biker bar of ill repute in the Carolinas. It’s one of my favorite tracks of all time and she seems to have provided a Version 2 on this release. I recall her even hinting to this song while we talked about IRA a few years ago. Well, it’s here now and every bit as good as the song of similar intent that preceded it. Lyrically we get:

My pistols were my next-of-kin / Gunmetal cradled ‘gainst my skin
They’re cold and hard to sleep with, yes / But I’m just drawn that way, I guess

Nice, but, as with the previous song, the chorus is the strong point, both musically and lyrically:

I’ll hang my hat with the heart-shaped pendant
I’ll hang my head as they hang me high
Now don’t you go crying for me, you hear?
We still had a good run, you and I
I’ll hang my hat with the heart-shaped pendant
I’ll hang my head as they hang me high
Got no last words, got nothing to say / ‘Cept good-bye

No one else could do this song, no one else could write those thoughts. Seems I’ve been waiting a long time for this one but damn, it was worth the wait. Guess I’m gonna have to take a trip south to North Carolina to that little biker bar I know where I’m pretty sure they’ll like it as much as I do. And, I suspect the beer will be free. . . . . again.