Released: 2011, Eulogy Media Ltd
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
The debut album from 'Talanas' is something I’ve been eagerly waiting for since I first heard their EP 'Reason and Abstract' which was impressive as well as brilliantly written. Well, they’ve kept us waiting long enough and 'The Waspkeeper' does not fail to keep to the high standard of writing and musical prowess that the EP displayed. If anything, they have all improved one-hundred percent in writing this record.
Their sound has grown and evolved considerably. The vocals are from another dimension, sliding from deep foreboding hymns to visceral growls and screams that have a great clarity. It’s not just about growls; although there are plenty of them, this album showcases 'Hal Sindens’ unique vocal talents. The range at which he can utilize his voice is something of another world.
Opening track 'Ananta (The Portrait)' is an excellent opener, beginning with an eerie tick and a grandfather clock chine, 'Joe Butterworth’s' drums crescendo into a dissonant riff. The drums sound excellent; they have a near perfect sound that means you can hear everything that’s being hit when it’s hit and it’s not muddied up by too much double or in this case quadruple bass drums.
The guitars sound tight and beefy when the distortion is cranked, even on the arpeggiated distorted sections, there’s clarity in the notes. The same again can be said for the clean tone, very slick. The riffs on here are immense, memorable and they make you want to head bang with horns raised! The bass is supreme on this record, tight and locked in, with a great tone, 'Mark Duffy' hits every single note perfect! In particular on final track 'The Unhealing II', which is an incredible song.
Backing this all up is some great sections of synth, not over bearing but audible in the right places. They aren’t typical either, they’re well written and bring another sublime sound for this already amazing band and group of people. But it’s all over this album, great playing and intense and beautiful songs that can take you away to another place where all there is, is this!
The tracks on this album flirt between aggressive assault to chillingly haunting. With vocals that could lull a baby to sleep, then reawaken with a scream directly from the pits of hell! Particular favourites of mine would have to be 'Ananta (The Portrait)', 'Messaline', 'The Ecstasy of Betrayal', 'Prussia White' and 'Antiphon'. But single out these four as favourites is unfair to the rest of the album; every single track here is a winner.
All in all, I can hardly find fault in this record. It’s quite possibly one of the best pieces of music I’ve had the privilege to listen to. Well written, well produced and generally amazing all round, with Guest vocals from Jason Mendonca (Akercocke), JD Quintus (The Meads of Ashphodel) and Adam Ever (From Great Height).
If you have to listen to one album this year, make it 'The Waspkeeper'. Talanas’s stock will rise considerably this year with this album. You won’t be disappointed, you have to hear this album! The recently released video for 'Antiphon' directed by Greg Barnes of Cling Films) can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch