Cold Lands

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Band Name Cold Lands
Album Name Cold Lands
Type EP
Data de lançamento 14 Janeiro 2012
Labels Self-Released
Recorded at Le Hangar 38 Studio
Estilo de MúsicaAtmospheric Metal
Membros têm este álbum4


1. My Heaven
2. Back to Hell
3. Jail
4. The Thing

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Crítica @ Vrael

17 Abril 2012

Natural, authentic and rich in emotions

(Please excuse the unstable use of English, I translated my review from the French side of spiritofmetal and wanted to share it with you English guys, but as French is my mother language... well, I hope the review is understandable anyway - please send me a mail if you think you can help me correct the text, thanks in advance)

A black, skeleton-like, leafless tree on a white immaculate background. Here is the aesthetics of the four guys band named Cold Lands : the importance of light... and dark.
The members have been practising in several different projects, the first of which to see the light are Radical Engines and Cold Lands. First thing to be noticed - which is kind of surprising for an atmospheric metal band : there is no keyboard player. But as Cold Lands consider themselves influenced by great atmospheric bands, among which are Katatonia and Paradise Lost who don’t use the synths either, it can be justified. Moreover, even if Cold Lands don’t claim to be a minimalist band, as the goal of the project is to sound natural, there is only two guitar players (one of them being the singer), a bass player and a drummer - because synths tend to replace an orchestra or easily fill an empty moment in the song. Hence no voice modulation or electro elements added.
As the white immaculate of the front cover indicates, what matters is purity.

The EP opens on the heavy riff of My Heaven with which intertwines the lead guitar’s melody, like ivy around a branch. Then comes an acoustic break during which a clear bass draws circular arabesques, the sound of which evolves in the void like ridges on the surface of a pond. We are to find this kind of acoustic passages here and there in the EP - at the beginning of Jail and The Thing for instance.
The melodic dimension is made clear from the very first song and we are to notice how the drums and roaring bass are highlighted compared to the guitars, which gives the global sound more body. Moreover, we can just enjoy the natural clear vocals of Alexandre, who is able to manage the lowest and the highest pitches with ease and grace. To finish with My Heaven, the track also exposes the main theme of the EP, which is the question of life after death.

Cold Lands goes on with the tricky intro of Back to Hell, which starts with a powerful heavy riff but doesn’t end at the hard rock track we could have expected at first. Back to Hell is in fact the most progressive song of the EP, not only because of its length but also because of the presence of two breaks and several different guitar melodies, evolving in an ashy atmosphere, sometimes aerial and light, sometimes made heavier by the weightened guitar/bass pair. The theme is the one of the second chance : can we still reach paradise when we come from hell ?

The third track is called Jail : four walls are raised around us by the guitars and bass, progressively, thanks to a discrete and well-managed instrumento. The feeling of being trapped Inside is emphasized by the drums which seem to rebound on the walls, which highlights this illusion of closed space that the desperate song makes panicking. What is expressed in Jail is the will to escape the prisons we create to lock ourselves in, which is ironically metaphysical since the one who listens to the song locks himself into it willingly...

Then comes the final track, The Thing, which highlights the feeling of empathy in order to denounce the human indifference towards others’ suffering : how can people turn away from person’s torture ? How can they not help ?
The Thing is the best conclusion possible to the EP, which ends with a magnifical solo heavily supported by the drums to close Cold Lands and that strong emotion.

So the style of the band from Grenoble is extremely aerial, softly melancoly, grey and cold (but not depraved from warmth thanks to a very present bass). Fortunatly, Cold Lands remains closer to heavy of doom metal rather than the ether of an easy atmogoth, generally caracterized by a constant ambient of depression drowned into synths.
Cold Lands are looking for exacerbation of feelings through an oniric atmosphere rather than technical demonstrability or track complexification, even if the acoustic breaks, instrumenti and comfortable length of the songs give a progressive dimension to the EP - here ‘atmospheric’ is not an excuse to hide a hypothetical lack of technique because we can feel it in the perfect coordination of the band and in the accuracy of the chord.
As a conclusion, Cold Lands pleasantly surprised me thanks to the authenticity of the band and the intimacy created, as if they were here with us. Nothing is unecessary but we don’t miss the keyboard either at any moment. This music is easy-listening but not 'cheap’ at all.

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