Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Viter: Springtime (2012)

Subway to Boredom

Guest review by Patrick, proprietor of Beards, Etc.

Viter are a Ukranian folk metal act with a good deal of electronic influence in their sound. The band released a series of singles over the course of this summer which were collected together last month, along with a new title track, to form their debut full-length album Springtime. My initial response to this curious synthesis of electronic tinges in folk metal was one of definite interest. I've encountered other works in this vein which I really enjoyed, so I was ready to hear more.

Unfortunately, this record didn't really deliver. The electro/industrial aspect of the music does bring a handful of interesting effects briefly into the mix, but this happens far too rarely. Instead it largely just serves to sterilize the end product, so that everything sounds over-processes and way too squeaky clean. The guitar work is largely made up of generic chord progressions played with little enthusiasm, energy, or variety. The folk instrumentation primarily consists of some wood flute flourishes sprinkled over the ends of vocal lines, along with some synths in the background. The almost exclusively clean vocals are not actively horrible, but they do tend to be a little monotone, with relatively little dynamism or energy.

Now there are some redeeming qualities to this album. It's a pretty easy and accessible listen that isn't likely to offend or appall anybody. "Cold and Frozen" is a decent track, making some interesting use of electronics to augment the music, and it features probably the most dynamic vocal work on the album. There are some intros and interludes scattered though the record that are interesting as well, though the music is generally so low-key and low-energy that these interludes don't serve the usual role of providing a break in the action, since there's not much to give listeners a break from in the first place.

This album is perfectly listenable. It is also, in a word, boring.

The Verdict: 2 out of 5 stars.

Buy Springtime

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