Lavinia: Finding the Hay in the Needle Stack Reviewd

In an attempt to live up to my claim that I’d review more obscure bands and not just the big names I’ll review Lavinia’s Finding the Hay in the Needle Stack today. It released January 5, 2012 through Bandcamp. It can be found here. I haven’t seen any reviews at all about this band, but that’s probably because they don’t appear to be signed with anyone.

I have no idea what to classify this style. They have listed only “metal” on bandcamp. They might disagree greatly with this, but I’m going to call it neo-baroque experimental math-metal. This isn’t so much because I believe this label, but it gives me something to describe. The neo-baroque comes from the way they use their instruments. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard this before, but their composition produces chords from layering melodic voices.

This reminds me the way baroque music is composed. A standard metal band will play chords on the guitar to fill out the sound either by sustaining them or by rapid attacking. Each guitar in this style is mostly just playing a single note inside an overall phrase or motif. The chordal structure comes from the layering of these sort of like a Bach invention is several separate melodies played at the same time which as a consequent produces chord progressions.

The experimental comes from some sampling that comes in and out of a few songs, including an extended sampling of the crack fox scene from The Mighty Boosh on the song Crack Fox. This is quite comical and fits well with some of the sense of humor some of the other songs (not to mention the album title) have. The song ends with a jazz solo adding to the experimental label.

The math-metal comes mainly from the use of mixed meter and polyrhythms. You should not picture something like Dillinger Escape Plan when I say this, though. It is a much more regular and subtle (and dare I say it, tasteful) use of these techniques than many of the highly technical mathcore bands. Overall, this type of combination creates a really interesting, original sound.

I’ve enjoyed greatly listening to this. The one downside I see to this album is how homogenous it is. The sound, tempo, style, and dynamic range of the songs don’t vary much. This makes it hard to pick a song to recommend as above the rest. Usually this type of thing I’d praise for making the album a nice unified whole album, but in this case I start to tune out a little towards the middle.

Also, it isn’t really a “grower” which I usually like. I do pick up new things every time I listen to it, but I haven’t had a huge growth in how much I like it. It was pretty immediate that I liked it (I listened to it twice on Bandcamp before deciding to buy it).

I shouldn’t harp on these minor points too much, because I really sincerely do like this album a lot. I give the album a solid 8.5/10.

Here’s a sample:

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