Earth Blood Magic


When met with a genre categorization of "Structured Occult Ambient Noise" (Facebook), it becomes a […]
By Joellen "FreshMetalGal" Patterson
July 11, 2013
Kontinuum - Earth Blood Magic album cover

When met with a genre categorization of "Structured Occult Ambient Noise" (Facebook), it becomes a head-scratching event. Is it in jest? KONTINUUM's debut album, "Earth Blood Magic", plainly states that their intentions are indeed in earnest. The question remains throughout this album, though, is did they succeed their aim? Some reviewers have said yes. This reviewer is not thoroughly convinced. KONTINUUM has exhibited Black Metal, Punk and Prog sounds that seem only loosely connected most of the time.

Although there were some nicely composed riff sequences here and there, they were repeated for too long. Without vocal layering or additional instrumental effect, it became easy to lose interest until the sequence changed, which only started the cycle of hope and disinterest over again. That statement being made, one could easily envision tracks such as "Endgame" and "Lightbearer" as being solicited for fast-action video game soundtracks or even action films. Visual action combined with repeated musical sequences seem to work more effectively than aural experience alone.

This listener would like to have heard less of the guitar overbalance from "Endgame" through "City". As to the best moments of the listening experience, there are several sprinkled throughout. "Steinrunninn Skógur" was on an interesting course. The narrow range of sung notes at the beginning inspired suspicion of Steinrunnin Woods. The mood was lost with interminable riff sequences. The change to a new one at 2:02 promised excitement, until it was realized it was going to continue a bit too long. The voice of the ghost child and deep growls began to restore faith in eeriness of the environs, yet hopes were dashed again. The overall effect was not convincing enough. KONTINUUM certainly have it in them, but more was needed. "Moonshine" would have carried greater emotional weight, as well, had the guitars not overshadowed what little singing and screams there were. "Stranger Air" teased with their initial Gregorian-like vocals. The pleasant echo of harmony was soon drowning in instrumentation. There was a moment where the vocals were more exposed, while backed by drums and guitar. There was an eloquent dissonance that gave an occultist air, until it pushed the margin to sounding off key. The moment was lost again.

"Lightbearer" was the most emotionally and acoustically convincing with its demon growls and thrash metal homage. Amongst the prestissimo tracks, it was the star of the album. The most interesting riff sequence of the album was found in "Lys Milda Ljos" at the course of 4:28.

"Red" and "Í Gljúfradal" best epitomized the common definition of ambience ("sounds that create a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere" - "Red" included soothing harmonies with its men's chant. This was a very mellow track a la PINK FLOYD. The layering in "Í Gljúfradal" of seashore, piano, varied strings and thunder created a maudlin and emotionally convincing soundscape. As lovely as these last two tracks were, they seemed from another album entirely. KONTINUUM obviously know their instruments, but more seamless arrangement and management of guitar overbalances would have put them on top in this reviewer's book. This is their debut, so hope is held we'll see future albums gel a bit more.

6 / 10

Had Potential

"Earth Blood Magic" Track-listing:

1. Endgame
2. Steinrunninn Skógur (Steinrunninn Forest)
3. Moonshine
4. Strange Air
5. Lightbearer
6. City
7. Lýs milda ljós (Shine Soften Light)
8. Red
9. Í Gljúfradal (In Gljúfradal)

Kontinuum Lineup:

Kristján B. Heiðarsson - Drums
Engilbert Hauksson - Bass
Birgir Thorgeirsson - Vocals, Guitar
Ingi Þór Pálsson - Guitar
Thorlakur Thor Gudmundsson - Guitar

linkcrossmenucross-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram