CD Review

Libitina – “Parhelion”

By Marcus Pan

ParhelionI have mixed feelings about the latest from Libitina. It's as if the band tries to put too much into one song, creating a mushy overcooked oatmeal of sound. Mixing a ton of electronics, old style gothic guitar movements and percussion that likes to add too much at a time, Parhelion is a very muddy water to tread at times.

Breathe, for example, has a guitar in there somewhere, vocals that are decent but splayed over by other things, changing drum movements as if the drummer wants to rewrite the song as he goes and a bunch of synth tracks that wash in and over everything. It has trouble holding my interest because there's too much to process at once.

Landfill opens nicely, but by the time the vocals arrive we have the same situation. One or more percussion tracks amd multiple melodies that fight for air time. Every piece of the puzzle that is Libitina's music is well done - nice melodies, poetic and romantic vocals - but when they mix too much into each track the individual merits become clumped up and lose their individual esteem.

Even the intro to Alea Lacta Est will succumb to this, guitars trying to shred things with applomb but being dulled by the constant surrounding noises. That said, the opening melody of Salvation is nicely played with an interesting pause-step rhythm that I like. Guitars, when they arrive, add to the rhythm, which is nice and even the new bassline added underneath supports the other movements. The stompy rhythm that comes next keeps a fast paced flow, but this is where it does start to become too much - and why the hell are we overloading the vocals with such a high pick-up rate that it promptly lands on and squashes everything I was just enjoying?

Surprisingly, Panopticon has an interesting disco-like beat combined with fast paced vocals and some guitar. Choruses once again get muddy as a very high-octave synth melody slides over top to twinkle down onto and over the vocals, guitars and rhythm movements that began the tune. It retains my interest though, because it's got a weirdness about it. Memento Mori is my favorite on Parhelion, keeping a more solid make-up during lyrical movements to be stronger with less pieces than others.

I'm surprised, really. Libitina have been around a while. For a well known and history laden group like Libitina to fall prey to the "more more more" syndrome is practically unheard of. Strip it back down to the A Closer Communion days and better that, rather than add more until it’s a muddy bloody mess, please.

Contact Information:
Libation Records
Post: PO Box 51704, London, NW1 4LR, United Kingdom

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