Iroha

Iroha

Written by: DR on 16/05/2011 18:34:24

When a band release an album, it is usually the final result of a singular vision or concept shared by the members eventually brought to fruition. With "Iroha", however, I'm not convinced this is the case, because although this is being pushed as one album, it is for all intents and purposes two albums, or at the least two different approaches to the same album.

Seemingly unable to settle on the production, there are two discs: one contains the original Iroha mix by Mr. Iroha, Andy Swan, and the other is mixed by Justin Broadrick from Jesu (also featuring remixes of Transitional, Black Galaxy and Jesu songs). Disc one alone takes up a hefty forty-seven minutes, but throw in the second as well and you're looking at almost two hours of drone-rock, a chunk of time that will inevitably deter some of the more superficial readers.

Disc one picks up where their split with Fragment. left off, by taking cues from the industrious and dreary Birmingham landscape and translating that into drone-rock. The layers of resonating guitar power-chords and bombastic bass loop, over-powering the vocals and electronics, relegating them to the background. It becomes immediately clear from the first track, "Last Day of Summer", that the production - the main failing of the split - is a definite improvement, sounding crisper, fuller and far from harsh on the ears. Swan rarely varies from his crescendo-driven structure, yet he's clearly doing so as he has a clearly-defined idea of what his album should sound like, as opposed to a lack of ideas.

Consequently, the sludgy soundscapes are samey and uninspiring. In this respect, Swan could learn from Broadrick's less-distorted mix on disc two; the vocals and electronics have space, this time relegating the looping power-chords and bass to the background, making the soundscapes sound more expansive than just noisy, thus giving the listener something different to admire.

Two hours of listening to "Iroha" can seem more like a challenge than an experience. In all honestly, it could and should have been cut in half, taking the best from each disc to form one album rather than two. There are a few good moments such as Swan's "Dreams" and Broadrick's "Drifted", but for a casual listener it's much too sizeable, and for someone who is going to try and give themselves over to it, too unrewarding.

6

Download: "Dreams" from disc one, "Drifted" from disc two
For The Fans of: Jesu
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 18.02.2011
Denovali Records

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