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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Ewigkeit

Radio Ixtlan

Review by Mike Korn

Here's a fascinating excursion into both the inner and outer limits of music. The inner limits, because Ewigkeit is completely the creation of one man, James Fogerty, known as "Mr. Fog". The outer limits, because Ewigkeit succeeds better than most at mastering the elusive genre of "space metal".

Mr. Fog is one talented guy, to put all of this together himself. Ewigkeit (German for "eternity", by the way) has a huge, expansive sound that combines the ethereal quality of a Pink Floyd with the hammering vibes of Ministry. Most stabs at "cosmic rock" sound overblown and longwinded, but many of the tracks on "Radio Ixtlan" are actually quite compact and catchy. Yet the sounds of the void and of high technology
form the meat of Ewigkeit's concept. It's like Bowie's "Space Oddity" played by a killer heavy metal band.

There are lots of influences and ideas to be found here, both musically and lyrically. As Mr. Fog himself has said, "it's not a concept album, it's an album of concepts". Like the mystical shaman Don Juan, who is another guiding light of Mr. Fog, Ewigkeit embarks on a journey to unexplored corners of the mind. You can join the ride by tuning in to "Radio Ixtlan".

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2004 Year Book Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
About Time
The blips and clicks of a changing radio dial introduce us to the world of Ewigkeit. This forms a recurring theme throughout the record. Waves of synth come in, and then a jangly guitar motif enters. The song shifts gears into a pulsing, heavy burst of riffing. Suddenly, you hear a familiar synth riff over the pounding guitar and realize "Hey, this sounds kinda like the theme to the "Dr. Who" TV show!". Mr. Fog vehemently denies it, but gee, the song is called "About Time"...
esc.
This is a heavy, catchy song with a frantic, nervous feeling to it. The vocals on the verse are robotically distorted while the chorus features clean vocals singing a refrain that is almost poppy.
That's another Ewigkeit trademark. This is a very good track.
Power Plant
This is one of the record's best. It has a melancholy beginning but soon unleashes some very crunchy guitar. The plaintive chorus will really stick in your head. I'm totally blown away by the
killer heavy riffing on this cut, which eventually turns into something very like death metal.
Journey to Ixtlan
And what a journey it is! While all the other tracks here come in at five minutes or under, this is a lengthy excursion that throws a dizzying amount of concepts at the listener. It begins with the chanting of a native shaman and then kicks in with a totally AWESOME industrial riff. It's so simple but so effective...fuzzed out to the max. The chanting continues over this heavy barrage, but then a soothing collection of synthesizer tones enters, as some rather insipid English poetry is read. Gradually, the tune builds back into a heavier, rockier mode, with one section being quite fast and frantic before a burst of radio static overwhelms everything. We then return to that original heavy theme with the native chanting, which devolves and degenerates into radio chatter. It's one of the most amazing tunes I've heard this year!
Live at Palenque 2012
A cool little instrumental, this has more catchy, very heavy riffing and a great shredding guitar solo at the end. My only complaint is that this got cut off too soon...I was really
starting to get into that solo!
Conquer the Fear
This has a driving, forceful feel to it, with Mr. Fog's vocals sounding more robotic and distorted than before. Programmed beats and synthesizer make this sound more industrial than some of the other cuts.
Platonic Verses
Some pretty creepy computerized tones kick this off before a shuffling, heavy riff cuts in. This has an almost danceable sound and the vocals are in the lower register but not as distorted as previously. If you've ever heard some the stuff from Killing Joke, that's the kind of neighborhood we are in here. Lots of pulsing bleeps and chirps surface amidst the guitar barrage.
Strange Volk
The only way this can be described is "Celtic industrial metal". We hear a lilting female voice and then a cool riff comes in at half power as we hear a fellow with a strong Irish brogue accuse us of all being murderers. Then the power REALLY kicks in. The Celtic, Irish feel is almost cliched, complete with "Heys!" injected, but it's delivered with such passion that your head nods along with the whole cut. It's a very strong and compelling track!
The New Way
Things cool WAY down for this one, as waves of relaxing, droning synth come in. The vocals are laid back and "normal" sounding, if a little artificial. This reminds me a lot of New Wave stuff from the early 80's. A heavy guitar finally enters the scene. But its not aggressive in anyway, drifting along languidly with the rest of the song - a strange combination of heaviness and New Age spaciness.
There's some tasteful piano and a sample telling us "I'm your friend but I'm not your friend". The track works because the rest of the album is so strong. A couple more like this one and its effectiveness would
have been greatly reduced.
 
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