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Arctic Sleep : Passage Of Gaia (Re-release)

The second of Arctic Sleep's 2017 re-releases is faster than 'Arbors' but no less creative and melodic.

Arctic Sleep's newest release follows in the footsteps of their previous album, 'Arbors', but 'Passage of Gaia' dives into faster territory - and in some places, more upbeat territory as well, particularly with the closer. As is to be expected from Arctic Sleep's unique style of melodic Rock and Doom, these songs are filled with catchy choruses and pummeling, down-tuned riffs. 'Passage of Gaia' is more of a mature album than its predecessor, though it covers much of the same ground.

This time around, the riffs are richer and more involved. When underneath the vocals, they still play simple, chug-heavy parts, but with a bit more flavor to them. Take the opening track, 'The Staircase.' The open-close feel of the guitar's verse riff produces a mesmerizing, but involved effect for the vocals to ride on top of, followed by beautiful choruses and and a fully fleshed-out riff for the bridge. There are many breakdowns and heavy bridges on the album - places where the guitar takes the center-stage and shows off something different - and each one of them is creative. It's impressive to hear just how heavy and melodic a band can sound in a single song, but Arctic Sleep hits both worlds.

Stylistically, the vocals are similar to the last album. There aren't many extreme vocals, but instead of predominately single-line melodies, female harmonies accompany the lead singer throughout the album - mostly on the early tracks. This is a nice touch for the arrangements, and suits the faster style of 'Passage of Gaia' well. And as for the words themselves being sung, Arctic Sleep has written some fitting and competent lines of poetry. While none of the lines are mind-bowingly clever - something I search for in music with so much emotion - they are all beautiful. One advantage this band has over other bands that attempt such a heartfelt sound is that their lyrics never produce a cringe. This may seem like an odd thing to point out, but producing this type of poetry set to this type of music and not writing a cheesy line is not an easy thing to do.

The only thing that holds Arctic Sleep up are tracks like 'Green Dragon.' This is a song that shouldn't be as long as it is. Its verse doesn't propel the album forward and its chorus does little we haven't heard on the previous two tracks. While its ending is solid, this is a track I think most listeners would skip. Sadly, Arctic Sleep doesn't seem to write clean guitar parts as well as they can riff. They simply strum chords and sing pretty melodies on top of them. They do it well, of course, but these parts feel like they don't belong on such an otherwise active and creative album.

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Reviewer's rating: 8.5/10


Tracklist :
1. The Staircase
2. Terra Vindicta
3. Green Dragon
4. Hyperion
5. Antipode
6. Passage of Gaia
7. Solar Lament
8. Destroy the Urn

Duration : Approx. 55 minutes

Visit the Arctic Sleep bandpage.

Reviewed on 2017-07-01 by Alex Drozd
Rotten Copper
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