February 19, 2008 | , | 4.5

Sculptured, Embodiement

Featuring members of Agalloch, Winds and Age of Silence (a virtual who’s who of death/doom metal), Sculptured combine the collective entities into a churning mass of 70s inspired doom and progressive metal. Shifting through crushing riffs, melodic keyboard work, intricate guitars and rapidly changing drums, Embodiment is just that — and embodiment of the band’s individuals into 40 minutes of time altering heavy metal.

From the impressive guitars of Don Anderson to the vocal delivery of Tom Walling, Sculptured stretches the musical bounds of their sound through droning noise, often off kilter drumming and psychodelic organ work. Traversing the five songs on this album is a journey you want to be well prepared for as there are many surprising twists and turns that will leave you wanting more.

Taking My Body Apart
From the albums onset you know exactly what you are getting into with this latest iteration of Sculptured as a memorable riff and hypnotic organs guide you along the start of your journey. Through this tracks 8 and a half minutes you’ll be treated to rapidly changing drum tempos, vocals that shift from spoken word to cleanly sung to transient growls. “Taking My Body Apart” is both beautiful and frightening in terms of where it’s taking the band’s music.

The Shape of Rage
“The Shape of Rage” starts off with drums that sound like they are being played deep a 5 gallon drum that previously held toxic run off from your local nuclear power plant. The band shifts beautifully and abruptly from mind altering keyboard work to chanted vocals accompanied by guitar squeals and psychodelic choruses. Just before the two minute mark is some excellent guitar work that’ll leave you breathless as the band dives back into the corroded barrel of Chernobyl waste. I hope you’ve taken some time to loosen up and stretch — starting at the three minute mark, the band begins jumping all over the place, launching into tech guitar work and then leaping to chaotic drum work. Six minutes after it started, “The Shape of Rage” ends with disjointed keyboard work that’s oddly hypnotizing.

A Moment of Uncertainty
A somewhat jazzy start to this next track keeps our journey moving along at a brisk pace and drums roll out of the speakers. Walling’s vocal is rough and in the distant as this track builds with memorable riffs. This one has a much more sinister feel overall when compared to the rest of the album. Walling’s delivery is eerie and has a malicious edge to it that fits the darker tones of the song well.

Bodies without Organs
I love the disjointed opening drums to this next song as doomy riffs join in. Andy Winter’s keyboards are simply mesmerizing as Walling’s gruff, guttural delivery takes you gently by the throat and pulls you deep into the bands churning wall of sound. The band slows it down tremendously just before the two minute mark before picking the pace back up with more doom inspired guitar work and thick drumming. There are plenty of chaotic elements going on around the three minute mark as the pace is brought up a bit with creative drum work. And strap your self in around the 4:30 mark for a wild keyboard ride that lasts a good while.

Embodiment is the Purest Form of Horror
The final and longest track starts off with slowly developing doom inspired riffs and light drum work. Throughout the length of these few tracks you can’t help but feel this thing is a relic from the drug induced 70s or 80s. Needless to say, I love the feel that this album has. Anderson’s guitar work starting at the 1:30 mark is genius when rolled in with the thick bass lines and groove oriented drum work. Walling’s vocals finally kick in midway through the second minute with a more trippy feel to them before he shifts back into the darker delivery he has use so well in the previous tracks. The 5:30 mark presents a psychodelic circus ride of chaos so buckle in. It ends with a sound clip and light guitar work leaving the listener feeling a little lost within the scheme life and death, questioning their own mortality.

~ ~ ~

Man, Sculputured’s latest album is one hell of a progressive, doomy trip through time. Embodiment is so much more than any of the band’s previous releases and that can be solely attributed to Andy winter’s otherworldly keyboard work. It adds an indescribable element to the bands already immense sound that simply makes this an album for the ages. Honestly, this is one of those records that you simply feel honored to listen to and I would expect this one high on the best of lists at the end of the year.

Favorite Tracks:
All of them

Additional Notes: