The Butterfly Effect

Final Conversation Of Kings

Written by: AP on 13/08/2009 14:15:31

In a desperate bid to offset the quintet of death metal and deathcore that looms in my review horizon, here is another album that some months ago would have felt out of character for me to deal with. What with being swamped with one genericore release after the other out of spite for our other scribes, for whom listening to such rubbish is an unbearable burden (except for one of our newer staff additions of course for whom it seems to be a neverending pleasure). Enough with the babble, the non-core album in question this time is "Final Conversation of Kings" by an Australian alternative rock quartet known as The Butterfly Effect. Once again as a disclaimer, I must admit that they are one of those neverheard-ofs for me, and that this is the group's third full-length outing. So comparisons to previous material are not going to be made.

Quick research does reveal, however, that this band has transitioned from nu-metal and hard rock to simply alternative rock with progressive nuances, telling me that there is no need to venture into the past. Like their contemporaries in Dredg, Fair to Midland and, to some extent, Muse, this album has been produced to enrich detail in every channel and so every unconventional drum beat, every effect-laden guitar lick and every (surprisingly high-pitch) bass note stands out like a piece of coal in a snowed in landscape. This is important because "Final Conversation of Kings" is riddled with tempo and texture shifts that come in at exactly the right places to maximize the impact of the songs. Much of the band's genius is thus found in their intuition for when to hold back and when to unleash a deafening crescendo. But even though the word 'progressive' is often used in reference to this band, the only real instance of it is on the opening track, "Worlds on Fire" which caps at just over seven minutes. The song gradually builds in momentum before descending into a moody mid section featuring a brilliant trumpet part and a bluesy clean guitar solo, and then explodes into a rewarding climax in its final seconds.

After that the progressions become more subtle and the songs take on an admittedly poppier, atmospheric focus most apparent on "Window and the Watcher", which gracefully gallops into a predictable, but nonetheless catchy chorus sung in falsetto. Hard to swallow at first, but with the enormous weight of the riff behind it ensures that the band can toy with mainstream appeal without sacrificing their musical vision. The band keeps its balance on this tightrope of catchy ambition, though the pop ballad "In These Hands" brings them dangerously close to losing their credibility. It is rescued by vocalist Clint Boge who delivers the predictable lyrics with an electrifying passion. Which brings us to his overall performance on this album: real chills-down-the-spine stuff. Nothing else begs to be said of it - his range and conviction are simply breathtaking.

What is a little bit unfortunate with "Final Conversation of Kings" is that the album's first seven minutes prove to be very difficult to exceed in terms of impact, and consequently the rest of the album proceeds almost in the shadow of the epic opener. Were it not for the fantastic songwriting prowess of these Australians, such an early climax would almost certainly lead to disaster, especially given the quiet nature of "Sum of 1" which occupies the position of last song. So what is the verdict? Well, this album might not eclipse its contemporaries but it is quite stunning nonetheless. Those of you who have an interest in mainstream rock but often find that it lacks any real depth will cherish the rich amount of detail on offer here.

8

Download: Worlds on Fire, Room Without a View, Window and the Watcher, Rain

For the fans of: Dredg, Fair to Midland, Karnivool, Muse

Listen: Myspace

Release date 29.06.2009

Superball

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