"some music was meant to stay underground..."

At The Soundawn - "Red Square: We Come In Waves" (CD)

At The Soundawn - "Red Square: We Come In Waves" CD cover image

"Red Square: We Come In Waves" track listing:

1. Slight Variations
2. Submerged
3. One Day Before
4. Phone Will
5. Sundown In Rome
6. Rain Falls
7. Frames Of You

Reviewed by on April 4, 2009

"If you're looking for a shred-fest, this is definitely not the album for you. Guitarists Andrea Violante and Matteo Bassoli are far more interested in melody than riffs and solos."

One of my favorite visual art forms is the collage. There's something intriguing to me about the idea of many disparate elements being combined to create something entirely new and greater than the sum of its parts. With "Red Square: We Come In Waves," Italy's At The Soundawn has created seven fascinating musical collages that combine elements of many different musical forms.

The musical journey on the opener, "Slight Variations," is worth the price of admission on its own. The song opens with a Tool-ish guitar line before singer Mirco Migliori comes in with a near death metal scream, but seconds later, listeners are emerged into a slow, quiet section with the vocals delivered quietly enough to suggest you're hearing them at a distance. Suddenly, the guitars start sounding like something out of a Coldplay song, and a mournful trumpet starts playing. The next track, "Submerged," contrasts heavy and light, with sudden leaps between distorted and clean guitar parts.

"One Day Before" initially sounds like radio-friendly rock, right before the screaming starts. At one point, Migliori's vocals are delivered through an effect simulating radio static, and the song slows to a sleepy pace, providing the perfect ending.

One of my favorite tracks on the album is "Sundown In Rome," which reminds me of classic Pink Floyd, in that it begins with a calm tranquility that's maintained until the end, when, in the last 15 seconds, it turns into a cacophony.

If you're looking for a shred-fest, this is definitely not the album for you. Guitarists Andrea Violante and Matteo Bassoli are far more interested in melody than riffs and solos. Bassist Alessio Bellotto and drummer Enrico Calvano also deserve a lot of credit for keeping the songs coherent, given all the time and style changes.

At just over 28 minutes, the album's a bit on the short side, but there's so much going on that it feels longer than that — and this is one of the rare times that that's a good thing. I will point out, though, that the last couple of songs start to feel just a tad formulaic, either going from heavy to light and back to heavy, or light to heavy and back to light.

With "Red Square: We Come In Waves," At The Soundawn offers a complete musical experience that goes beyond riffs, solos and grooves. That's a rare thing in metal these days, and one to be celebrated.

Highs: Variations in style, speed and volume make this an intriguing listen.

Lows: The album's last two songs are a bit formulaic.

Bottom line: A unique musical journey that transcends genre, and is well worth listening to.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)