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The Living Fields - "Running Out of Daylight" (CD)

The Living Fields - "Running Out of Daylight" CD cover image

"Running Out of Daylight" track listing:

1. Remnant
2. Perseverance
3. From Miseries to Blood
4. When the Walls Go Up
5. Bitterness
6. Glacial Movements
7. Intermissione
8. Running Out of Daylight

Reviewed by on June 22, 2011

"'Running Out of Daylight' strives to accomplish a great deal of things, and for the most part, it does. It is ambient metal that transcends the usual sound of pagan metal by straddling the more acoustic and progressive realm."

If you have ever been able to feel something better than you can describe it, that is how The Living Fields's sound hits you. It has elements of epic, folk and pagan metal, but it borrows from many more sources other than those. "Running Out of Daylight" is their second full-length, picking up from where they left off before and continuing to experiment even more than they have done before.

The Living Fields has always incorporated a potpourri of different sounds into their songs. One movement may be primal black metal that bridges into an earthen acoustic segment. This is the modus operandi of this Chicago band. Placid segments give way to doom guitar, spoken word style chanting, snips of recorded political diatribes and singing that alternates from one end of the spectrum to another. "Running Out of Daylight" follows this style, but evolves into a record that sounds more "new age" than symphonic.

The tracks are mostly above average length and consist of a lot of bantering back and forth between moods and movements. They continue to be just as aurally heavy as before, but "Running Out of Daylight" tones down some of the metallic aspect a bit to make way for other elements, such as more acoustics, violin, cello and piano. The result is an experience that sounds more in line with 70's prog rock than exclusively ambient metal. Listening to a track like "Perseverance" is clear out of the days of Kansas or Bloodrock. That isolated feel is there with the piano notes echoing in the air amidst the intermittent guitar droning and folkloric choruses.

"From Miseries to Blood" navigates from screamo vocals as high as Hirax in their heyday to a complete change to low-range growls. The Living Fields usually change up a lot during the course of each song, as in "Remnant." The slow, slamming riffs switch between news-feed, faster segments and then a continuation of droning. The title track probably has the most black, folkloric feel to it, with its orchestral sound and string instrumentation. Like some of the other songs, it shifts gears too chaotically from taciturn to chaotic. The one track that changes the least is the nicely done "Glacial Movements," which drives home the earth theme through its lyrics and consistent kinesis of loud guitars.

"Running Out of Daylight" strives to accomplish a great deal of things, and for the most part, it does. It is ambient metal that transcends the usual sound of pagan metal by straddling the more acoustic and progressive realm. A whole slew of different influences and cycles are present in their album, but sometimes tend to not flow at an optimum best. "Bitterness" takes an atmospheric violin intro that quickly segues back and forth from metallic interludes a little too jarringly. The effect loses steam and can fall flat. There are also a couple of small, strictly instrumental numbers that seem added on after the fact. "Intermissione" sounds like two minutes of crickets. This ambience works well late at night or when possessed by a certain mood.

There's a lot of good to be said about The Living Fields. They come at their style from an interesting angle of pushing the envelope to include many emotions. In that, they vie for a progressive style that relates an earthen theme through acoustics, metal and environmental effects. Sometimes it is fluid and other times it needs to be joined in such a way that it isn't so random.

Highs: A band that consistently tries something different to bring a newer sound to the realm of pagan metal

Lows: The different infusions of style are sometimes placed together in a random way.

Bottom line: An ambient, progressive release from a band known for trying new things.

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)