CD \ R
Red King, The "Vitreolvm" Digipak CD
Label Dark Symphonies
Release date 2003
Style Neoclassical Music
Country USA
Price: 11.49 EUR


1. Materia Prima
2. Visita: Interiora / Terrae
3. Rectificadoque: Invenies / Occultum / Lapidem
4. Veram: Medicinam [MySpace]

Length: 45:14

Four, theatrical, grandiose and mysterious tracks clocking in at over 45 minutes. Corvus Corax (USA) mastermind Johann Bran Cleereman´s alchemical, neoclassical side project. The music is ominous, mysterious and orchestral, coloured with Johann´s haunting, emotional vocals. "Vitreolvm" comes in a limited edition digipak with the beautiful artwork and layout created by Madeline Von Foerster.


Here we have four massively long tracks from this "neoclassical" one-man side project of Johann Brån Cleereman (Corvus Corax). Now, I´ve never heard Corvus Corax, so I have no idea how this compares, and anything tagged as "neoclassical" often leads me to assume that I´m not going to like it, but I´m actually digging this material quite a bit. At times it leans in an overdramatic direction that I´m not fond of, but everything is handled so well that I can easily overlook it in favor of the big picture. The first track, "Materia Prima", is an instrumental using piano, orchestral synths, some percussion, and a few more bombastic passages... and surprisingly it´s not at all cheesy or annoying to me. There are a few parts that border on rubbing me the wrong way (sort of sounding like video game music or something), but the composition definitely has a strong soundtrack type of feel to it, having been written and arranged very professionally. "Visita Interiora Terrae" runs around the same length at 9+ minutes, starting with piano and some ambient hums, then slowly introducing clean guitars, drums (probably programmed), and droning monotone singing. Towards the end the singing becomes a bit less dramatic and more sinister, very nice. This is definitely the strongest track overall. "Rectificadoque Invenies Occultum Lapide" is hugely epic at 18+ minutes, and not unlike the other tracks begins with piano, slight percussion, and some orchestral synths. The vocals are hard to decipher and a bit more disturbing, almost like chants, and later some deep spoken vocals come into play. At times there are some medieval sounding orchestrations, powerful melodies, and so on... Some of the flute-like synths bother me because they just don´t sound authentic, and that can take away from the power of the harmonies. I´d rather hear live instruments or just the orchestral synth patches as opposed to that type of stuff, but that´s just my opinion. And then there are some insane screaming vocals. And I mean insane! Quite a fucking shock, they just come out of nowhere. I definitely enjoy all of the vocal variation. There are some black metal types of vocal influences on rare occasion, and even the moaning spoken parts aren´t so bad, and usually I can´t stand that stuff. "Veram Medicinam" is another 9+ minute whopper, though a bit different from the other tracks in its use of chimes and deeply pitch-shifted vocals. I like the way the synths and percussion work with some of the more abstract textures, and I also enjoy the unique vocal arrangements that have a more rhythmic flow. The recording quality is excellent. Everything is perfectly clear and full with great density. I have no complaints at all. I like the fact that the vocals are mixed right in with the music, and there´s no real separation in the mix. Everything combines to form a seamless unit. The package looks very nice, housing the disc in a full color digipack with quite a bit of information. There are five panels of original paintings, lyrics, one small (and bizarre) band photo, recording information, etc. The lyrics use language that I might normally find cheesy, but they´re handled very well and contain some interesting passages: "This world is not this world. It is this tower. Tidal terpsichorean. Woebegone and wizened. My Lamia becomes the wiser. Blood seed. Blood seed. Lachrimonious skies cast seeds on seascape skin. Feral shadows shape ancestral halls. Infernal fields return underneath... divide. This world is not this world. This world is not this world." I still can´t say I´m 100% won over by this whole "neoclassical" thing, but The Red King is a curious project that does offer something that I feel is above average. I´d like to hear something more in the future, as I think the potential for something greater exists. (7/10)
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