Joined: 30 Jan 2003
|Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 1:08 am Post subject: THE LIVING FIELDS – THE MISERIES NEVER END
|THE LIVING FIELDS – THE MISERIES NEVER END
In the autumn of 2002, The Living Fields was born as an outlet for guitarist Jason Muxlow’s doom inclinations and populist beliefs. Fed up with both the tuneless brutality of the late 90’s and near-fascist, right-wing idiocy pouring out of the metal community after September 11th, work began on initial compositions with the intent to combine doom-fuelled songwriting with the progressive politics metal once stood for.
So as you can expect, from reading the press release, I didn’t know what the hell I was in for when I put this on. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Combining progressive metal ala early Falkenbach with almost epic 'Hammerheart'–era Bathory and the political stance of Bad Religion or Jello Biafra, and you have one unique release indeed.
Complicated, disturbing, seemingly mournful at times, ‘The Miseries …’ is, by no means chirpy. Opener ‘A Leveling Spirit’ growls and snarls like a rabid beast, yet with a sliver of harmony running beneath the despairing angst. Reminding me at times of celtic metallers Primordial, this track is part black metal anthem, part Enya-esque ballad. The title track wails a funeral dirge, the lyric ‘Those in power thrive while we suffer to stay alive’ a melancholic hymn for the damned. The addition of strings and flute give this number added power – a prayer for the doomed indeed.
Track three, ‘Dim Prospects’, is a collage of spoken word lectures and speeches from such three noteworthy social-political activists; Noam Chomsky, Ward Churchill and Howard Zinn, whilst a somber cello laments in the background. The final track, ‘Empire’s Fall’, is perhaps the most upbeat song on offer, hammering away like some twisted Dream Theatre epic, and it sounds, portent lyrics aside, gorgeous.
The aforementioned Jason Muxlow and one fellow named Higgs are responsible for this, and for that they should be applauded. Voivod were once described as ‘thinking man’s metal’. The Living Fields more than qualify for that honor too.