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Lengsel - "The Kiss - The Hope" (CD)

Lengsel - "The Kiss - The Hope" CD cover image

"The Kiss - The Hope" track listing:

1. An Anonymous Phone-Call and a Dead Line
2. Hell Calls Hell
3. Miss S.C.
4. Ådendød - The Easy Kill
5. Tales of Lost Love
6. A Little Less to Heal
7. Eternal Seven
8. The Warm Water Chaseway
9. Angels in America
10. The Pale People
11. Avec Toi

Reviewed by on January 19, 2011

"With this album being spread out across many different genres, it’s fair to say that it will certainly not appeal to everyone and those who are interested will most likely need to be in the right mood for such adventurous material."

It’s hard to come across an album in today's age that truly cannot be defined by any single genre. Lengsel's second full length effort "The Kiss - The Hope" is such an album, one that looks miles beyond any singular style of music and treads the diverse waters of black metal, post-rock, metalcore, blues, and progressive metal. While the previous album "Solace" is widely considered amongst underground fans to be one of unblack metal's greatest and most under-rated albums of all time, the members of Norway's Lengsel (also hailing from the progressive metal act Extol) choose to branch out and truly embrace the idea of progression in music with "The Kiss - The Hope."

From the awkwardly titled opening track it's apparent that this album is going to be one unique trip. "An Anonymous Phone-Call and a Dead Line" features a distinct melody that carries through its entire 8 minute bulk without steering off course, keeping its distinct doom and gloom atmosphere. The song is, simply put, incredibly creepy and creates a feeling of total loss and despair. For a song that is essentially one single riff being played repeatedly for an excessive playing time it is quite a success, due to its creation of that certain depressive mood.

While "The Kiss - The Hope" presses on it is an album very much centered in the realm of total darkness and despair, but the beauty of this album is that the band manages to convey the emotion using vastly diverse forms of music. While the second track, "Hell Calls Hell," is an ear damaging take on mathcore similar in style to what The Chariot is doing today (and there are several songs on the album planted in the mathcore mentality) "Tales of Lost Love" on the other hand is a curve-ball thrown directly at the listener's face using a deep blues-rock influence. Imagine "Tales of Lost Love" as being a zombified version of Tom Waits or Muddy Waters. Yes, I said Tom Waits and Muddy Waters and you know what - the song is damn good. Featuring a solid bass line and simple drum work the song is a completely different experience from what isoffered up on the rest of the album, yet it fits oh so well.

With this album being spread out across many different genres, it’s fair to say that it will certainly not appeal to everyone and those who are interested will most likely need to be in the right mood for such adventurous material. This isn't your everyday metal album and even for progressive metal it is an ambitious leap into previously unknown territory. "The Kiss - The Hope" was even a challenge for myself to fully appreciate, taking many months of repeated attempts for it to finally sink in and leave its mark. For anyone interested in the avant-garde areas of metal this album is worth checking out, provided you are willing to fully embrace its length and ambitious nature. If you are willing to give "The Kiss - The Hope" the attention it deserves then you are in for one interesting ride.

Highs: Compelling and unique songwriting that offers a diverse metal experience.

Lows: The variances in its musical genres hurt the album's flow.

Bottom line: An experimental metal album that plays like a Silent Hill game: incredibly creepy and immensely dark.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 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)