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Old Silver Key - "Tales Of Wanderings" (CD)

Old Silver Key - "Tales Of Wanderings" CD cover image

"Tales Of Wanderings" track listing:

1. What Once Was And Will Never Happen Again (2:05)
2. November Nights Insomnia (5:36)
3. Cold Spring (6:44)
4. Nineteen Winters Far Away From Home (3:48)
5. Star Catcher (5:11)
6. Burnt Letters (5:21)
7. About Which An Old House Dreams (8:26)

Reviewed by on October 11, 2011

"'Tales Of Wanderings' is a great representation of the melodic side of these musicians, but it just doesn’t quite match the awe-inspiring glory of their other projects."

Drudkh and Alcest have put out excellent releases over the past year (“Handful Of Stars” and “Ecailles de Lune,” respectively), which pushed away from the black metal aesthetics both bands are well-equipped with. It seems obvious that the two would coexist at some juncture, and that’s where Old Silver Key fits in. Featuring all the members of Drudkh, with Alcest’s Neige presiding over the vocals, the band has put out their rocking debut “Tales Of Wanderings.” Fans expecting black metal/shoegaze goodness may be flustered at the relatively low-key nature of this record.

“Tales Of Wanderings” is more inspired by Alcest than Drudkh, as Old Silver Key builds songs around moody riffs and flirtations with black metal. Most of the songs are laid out in the same way, which tends to get a little derivative in the last third of the album. Neige’s fantastic vocal work is the defining trait of “Tales Of Wanderings.” Using only clean vocals, he tell stories based in fairy tales and mystical wonderments. A long-time listener of Alcest may claim his evolution as a singer is close to reaching its pivotal moment with “Tales Of Wanderings.”

The mellowness of “Tales Of Wanderings” is felt from the early goings, as the heavy synth and piano on opener “What Once Was And Will Never Happen Again” is a credible set-up to the mid-paced, rock-ish tempos on “November Nights Insomnia.” While the pace quickens at times, most of this record is blunt and restrained. “Nineteen Winters Far Away From Home” is an instrumental with no set theme or wispy sentiments, except to nail its forceful sound into existence.

The potential of having the caliber of the five musicians involved in this project is reached with “About Which An Old House Dreams.” Neige hits soulful high notes, and drummer Vlad pulls out his piano skills for at least half of the song. It is also much different in tone than the rest of the album; it’s a bit slower, which gives off a striking atmosphere. Closing in on nine minutes, if any metal fans were trying to picture what Alcest and Drudkh would be like in a collaborative design, “About Which An Old House Dreams” could be a realistic image.

For some listeners, setting aside the fact that this band has Alcest and Drudkh members could be hard to do. “Tales Of Wanderings” is a great representation of the melodic side of these musicians, but it just doesn’t quite match the awe-inspiring glory of their other projects. “About Which An Old House Dreams” is an excellent composition, as well as “Cold Spring” and “Novembers Nights Insomnia.” The band taking a well-mannered approach shows ambition, as well as mass appeal to those outside the black metal spectrum.

Highs: Different side of these musicians shown, more melodic than their other bands, Neige's fantastic clean vocals, the closing track "About Which An Old House Dreams."

Lows: Doesn't utilize the full potential of a Drudkh/Alcest collaboration, songs are structured very similarly

Bottom line: This Alcest/Drudkh pairing works in melodic territory, though doesn't completely reach the potential shown on a few tracks.

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)