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Wive - "Pvll" (CD)

Wive - "Pvll" CD cover image

"Pvll" track listing:

1. Toast To Famines (4:19)
2. Teethy (3:29)
3. Langvage (3:58)
4. Lazarvs and Dives (5:24)
5. Come, Join The Sea (4:44)
6. Attrition (4:30)
7. The Day Bvrnt To Death (3:54)
8. Widows (3:13)
9. Tongve Of Callvs (3:42)
10. Slvmber's Edit (2:32)

Reviewed by on January 17, 2011

"The subtle charm of the album is immersing one’s self into a state of tranquility, though with a haunting shadow slithering right above it all. "

Featuring members of the art rock group A Whisper In The Noise, Wive is a band that seems ill-suited to be featured on a site called Metal Underground. It’s true that there isn’t much metal to be found on their debut “Pvll,” as soothing violins and soft piano keys are the glue that holds much of the songwriting together. However, just because it doesn’t have shredding leads and raspy grunts doesn’t mean that “Pvll” should be discounted right out of the gate. It’s a very low-key album, to the point that the lack of any punch becomes a noticeable distraction.

For a band that uses a minimalistic point of view to their songwriting, there is a lot going on. Something as simple as “Langvage,” which is built upon hypnotic vocals, can have multiple elements going on simultaneously. It could be programming sounds deep underneath the instruments or soulful female vocals side-by-side with the crooning male counterpart; this is music that couldn’t be handled by a general audience. Even with the pop mentality, there is a deepness that doesn’t scream out mainstream success. That isn’t due to a lack of talent, but to the fickle music community that won’t be able to place Wive into a specific genre.

“Pvll” feels like a soundtrack to one of those dark independent films that is emotionally poignant, but doesn’t really go anywhere. It has its high points with the longer material, and its low points with the songs that just drift along with little build-up. Closer “Slvmber’s Edit” is a piano instrumental that is better as filler than a conclusive ending. The slim pickings of “Attrition” and “Tongve of Callvs” will cause bouts of yawning even from the most patient of listeners.

Wive is at their best when the songs are fully-composed, integrating every broad aspect that the band has to offer. “Lazarvs and Dives” has a majestic tone, with multi-tracked vocals pairing off on each other, and a dominant piano melody that demands attention. Harmonic vocals lend a dreamy state to “Come, Join The Sea,” while “Widows” contains one of the few electric moments, a brief sidetrack that quickly returns to acoustic bliss. Violinist Hannah Murray is a joy to witness on the dark “The Day Bvrnt To Death,” while drummer Matt Irwin takes center-stage on “Teethy,” which has the organic feeling of a live studio take.

This type of music is best reserved for a quiet evening alone, without any distractions. Not much happens throughout the 40 minutes of “Pvll,” but that is not as much of a disadvantage as it seems on paper. The subtle charm of the album is immersing one’s self into a state of tranquility, though with a haunting shadow slithering right above it all. Most metal fans will tune out before the album is halfway done, but those that enjoy the calmer moments of Swans and Neurosis may find “Pvll” to be a nice distraction from the norm.

Highs: Laid-back and soothing, nice use of violins, minimalistic songwriting

Lows: Shorter numbers drift along with no build-up, too low-key at times, not for the close-minded metal fans out there

Bottom line: Atmospheric music that is less about energy and more about sending the listener into a dreamful state.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

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)