As Light Dies – Ars Subtilior From Within The Cage

So what kind of music can you expect to hear on As Light Dies "Ars Subtilior From Within The Cage". Its actually more of a case what style you don't hear because this band from Spain seems to have a major identity crisis when it comes to writing and constructing music. Seeing as a review is nothing more than a subjective opinion, i will say from the outset that for the most part this is the kind of music i hate the most in metal. Self-indulgent, confused in terms of its genre and overloaded with technicalities for sake of showing off their musical abilities. Having already ripped the band apart in a few lines, i will also admit that this album is a staggering piece of work but i just don't get most of it. Lets talk comparisons, we need a reference point - right? The fact is As Light Dies blends and mangles everything from a Dream Theater kind of Progressive Metal styled noodling, other times its like Opeth, other times like My Dying Bride and just to confuse you more, bits sound like System Of The Down, or at least that is just some of what i hear. Musically it goes from Progressive Metal to Goth to Death to Doom to Jazz Fusion and to something very mainstream in terms of modern Hard Rock. Even more alarming is sometimes they do it all within the one song so getting into any kind of groove is like looking for a needle in the proverbial haystack.

A case in point is the intro "The Very End", dramatic and ambient, it gives you the feeling something crushing in the Doom Metal style is approaching but alas you are bombarded by a whirlwind of blistering, technical guitar flourishes and Progressive Rock meets Jazz Fusion time signatures and changes. The vocals of guitarist Oscar Martin also makes it hard to get into any sort of melodic groove as his vocal style is well, forgettable. "Le Nebuleux Sentier" has some unexpected twists, some are good, some are just irritating. Elsewhere you get psychedelic riffs, symphonic soundscapes, violin solos, industrial metal like Fear Factory, female vocals but the way the songs are constructed sounds clumsy and messy. "Insignificant Among Insignificance" and "Yearning For Blissful Moments While Standing Upon The Ruins" are the only two tracks containing anything close to a normal musical structure. Brilliant musicians they are but as songwriters and composers, they seem to have no clear vision of anything. The songs are mostly not fluent with the instruments seeming to be fighting with each other creating a sound that seems forced and very unnatural.

"Ars Subtilior From Within The Cage" is a album you must listen to a number of times before any of it makes any sense but even after many spins, the overall listening experience of this album is nothing short of tiring. Music can be challenging, complex and experimental but this seems disjointed and musically direction-less. Its also strange to find this on the Bad Mood Man label, its very different to their usual product. I am guessing there is a certain kind of metal fan that will dig this stuff but i honestly don't know any but by all means check this album out if you want something different to listen to but don't go seeking grooves or memorable riffs because there isn't any. In one word this album is "exhausting" to listen to but not in a good way.

1. The Very End

2. The Disinherited

3. Le Nebuleux Sentier

4. Die Letze Fuge Vor Der Flucht

5. Trapped In Flesh

6. Yearning For Blissful Moments While Standing Upon The Ruins

7. Sombra Y Silencio

8. Insignificant Among Insignificance

9. When Everything Fades Away

Badmoodman Records
Reviewer: Ed
Jul 21, 2010

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