“”Following an Alberta Metal Award for “Best Production” and a nomination for “Best Track” on his contribution to “13 Arcane Hymns”, Gustavo De Beauville set out to record his first solo album. This is the musical endeavor of one man, with one clear ambition: take prisoners. Volume 1 is a definitively conceptual, and immersive album which wastes little time trying to convince the listener otherwise.
The first track, “Release The Kraken” slips quickly from a cascade of ambient flutters into a driven, industrial trance. Throughout the Buckethead-esque opener and continuing onto many of the latter tracks, palm-muted strokes of lower-string flourishes are joined by all manner of scale-driven riffs and menacing power chords. Add in some skillful dancing between traditionally modern electronic bass ‘wobbles’ and well placed 4string-style bass riffs, and you’re starting to get an idea of what Volume 1 is all about.
The drumming is a bit more eclectic. From the straitlaced hip-hop beat of “Sands of Allure” to the deliciously late-90’s-early-2000’s groove, “In a Shaman’s dream”. Top it off with the aggressive evolution of syncopated delusion on the final track, “In Defiance”. We see something between a total commitment to musical anonymity and a brazen refusal to settle for anything less than engaging. The attention to percussive detail is alluring, and if you are willing to buy in, can be captivating for brief moments.
Electronically, the album is expansive and, at times, adventurous. “Insectoid Trails” begins with a creepy pipe-organ-within-a-pipe-organ sound offset by an ominous ticking, swelling into breakbeats and synth stabs worthy of an exciting scene in an Xbox or Playstation game. “Take To The Skies” nestles the synth artfully in the background, while many of the tracks lie somewhere in the middle. The variation of electronic instrumentation used is inviting, and the play between string and synth bass displays a spark of genius.
Unfortunately, the guitar work on the album does not quite reach the level of all of these elements. Perhaps purposefully, the tones and shapes do not seem to evolve with the composition, leaving something wanted in their articulation. Something we don’t ever receive. Wailing guitar solos never seem to climax, melodic delay riffs never seem to swell, and foreboding power chord rhythms come up somewhat empty. This is a project that bleeds the intentions of the artist on every track, but that blood seems to be slightly anemic.
This is a fairly well produced and engineered album, with a lot of good elements you will only find in a solo production. There are some parts that sound so punchy and energetic, that the rest of the songs seem almost un-mastered. Overall it is definitely a step in the right direction for De Beauville, and though at times it may fail to amaze, in the end it left me hopeful. De Beauville’s previous work is easily eclipsed both in scope and promise. I will be crossing my fingers that he can continue on this path and that next time those sparks of brilliance will catch fire.””
Record label: ?
Album length: 15 tracks; 57 minutes 15 seconds
Release date: February 17th, 2014
1. Release the Kraken (4:36)
2. Jagannath (3:38)
3. As I Slither (4:28)
4. From the Light (4:05)
5. Seeking Solace (3:19)
6. Ancient Courage (4:40)
7. Visions from Above (5:04)
8. Insectoid trails (2:46)
9. Sands of Allure (2:42)
10. Red Giants (2:16)
11. Losing Innocence (3:30)
12. In a Shaman’s Dream (3:35)
13. Oh Divine raven (3:17)
14. Take to the Skies (4:21)
15. In Defiance (4:59)