The Bridal Procession

Astronomical Dimensions

Written by: BL on 14/04/2011 17:07:27

It's rare for a deathcore record these days to make me feel anything other than a mixture of mild amusement if its absurdly heavy, or just embarrassment when its ... absurdly heavy but also awful (and there are plenty of stinkers out there to get your hands dirty). Every now and then though, you find something that entices a different response altogether - actually in this case partly because I had the wrong impression when I first decided to review this. The Bridal Procession's new album "Astronomical Dimensions" seems only slightly your standard progressive deathcore rummage sale affair (minus all the excessive breakdowns and repetitive instrumentation, though does that still make it deathcore?), where its actually mostly death/black metal with symphonic/gothic/electronic elements that try to breathe bit of life through its otherwise thick and impenetreble veins. Its hardly a combination that hasn't been tried before, bands such as The Breathing Process, Wrath And Rapture, and to a lesser (especially in terms of seriousness) extent Winds Of Plague, already exist and have had various levels of success. Whether or not "Astronomical Dimensions" will standout to you also depends a bit on what you are expecting from this record.

The thematic landscape constructed by The Bridal Procession feels feels somewhere split between the genuninely dark and terrifying, and the cheesily theatrical. On one hand you had the guitar instrumentals which felt hulking and evil when they wanted to be, on the other you had the electronics and keyboards which came across as either too dramatic or perhaps a bit too artificial to add to the atmosphere they tried to build. None of it is overtly subtle but in your face, definitely more of a bulldozer approach instead of a scarecrow or shadow lurking behind your back. What this means is that songs barely waste any time before the thundering guitars start crashing down in your ears, the raspy screams clawing at your heels and the drums pummeling like a hail of machine gun fire through a thunderstorm. The riffs seemed menacing enough for the most part and theres plenty of pseudo-morbid imagery that comes to mind when hearing the likes of the aptly named proper opener "Flesh To Flesh". But then the synths kicked in, the "scary" piano lead dropped right in front of you and everything turned into some kind of (albeit heavy as hell) gothic stage production. The few moments throughout where the combination of guitars and keyboards genuinely worked to eerie effect seemed too scattered all over the place. For example the whining tone and melody of the keyboards in "Shroud Of The End" detracted from the illusion of malice because they felt a bit too cliched, and its only the strings introduced later on that served the mood better I felt. Subtlety tends to do better in my book, rather than flat out throwing the pie in your face.

Technically speaking the album is a showcase of reasonably skilled talent across the board, from the individual moments like the soaring guitar solos in "Atypical Pestilence", "Obsolete Machines" and "Patrons Of Humanity" to the clever layering in "Diminishing Lungs" and the transition between "Astronomical Dimensions" to "Pillage The Scavenger" that hint at some more thought out song writing. The album titled track in particular is perhaps the band's display at their most varied, mixing solemn sounding progressive phases with grandeur driven heavy segments. But again despite that good work there is more actual promise than actual delivery when it comes down to it. Songs also have a habit of not offering enough overall variety in structures nor do they stand out from each other all that much save for the few I've already mentioned. That and I guess its a hammered home point that I really disliked it whenever those whirling high pitched keyboards popped up. I much preferred it when songs like closer "Patrons Of Humanity" had large parts that stopped trying to tinker with the symphonic and go flat out pure haunting and devastating guitars, and when the synth elements did come in at the end, the execution felt much more well timed and complemented what was going on. If "The Bridal Procession" had really been that impressive throughout then perhaps I would be making more noise about "Astronomical Dimensions", but as it stands its reasonably good, and nothing more.


Download: Astronomical Dimensions, Diminishing Lungs, Patrons Of Humanity
For the fans of: The Breathing Process, Abigail Williams, Through The Eyes Of The Dead
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 07.02.2011
Siege Of Amida Records

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