THE LIVING FIELDS - Running Out Of Daylight CD
Genre: Progressive Doom
Whenever I see a release tagged as 'progressive' prior to giving it a spin I'm thinking it's probably some ambitiously layered release that defies categorization. A more succinct term which long time music fans use would be 'kitchen sink metal'. After listening to this Chicago band's sophomore release a few times I believe the 'kitchen sink' is fairly accurate. Along with their predominant doom metal sound, which is in a similar vein of the English big three, THE LIVING FIELDS also use piano, violin, viola, cello, and acoustic guitar in the mix plus multiple vocalists of varying styles. This gives their sound an air of Euro Viking/Folk Metal influence. The combination does make this release interesting at first since they also channel everything from Power Metal to Black Metal along with the Death Doom elements. Like I said, at first, because over time you wonder is all of the added string instrumentation is just covering for average Euro Doom copying. It's been three years since their debut, which I found out was not far from what they're doing on here, so what might be considered 'epic' is really closer to being overkill. Then again a little fact-oid I discovered is that the band never recorded this in the same session. The members of THE LIVING FIELDS are scattered all over the fuckin place so this thing takes on the style of a FOLKEARTH type of recording. A basic track is laid down and afterwards the other musicians add to it.
Running Out Of Daylight is comprised of 8 tracks all clocking in at over the sixty minute mark. Even though the tracks do exhibit a cold Euro or better yet Scandinavian feel, they're not frozen enough to sound cohesion. The opener "Remnant" is fairly decent with it's use of the string instruments and timpani drums plus the vocal change ups using clean male vocals and black metal shrieks really brings out the Viking/Folk feel. This type of structure is used throughout along with varied tempo changes. “Perseverance" changes things as it starts off well with a galloping Power Metal vibe then breaks down into this slow melancholy doom theme until reviving the pace it started with. "From Miseries to Blood-Drenched Fields" is probably the best cut on here consisting of somber doom which kinda reminds me of more recent MY DYING BRIDE. Another act this band seems to like, as far as influences go, is AGALLOCH. "When the Walls Go Up" as well as "Bitterness" employ acoustic passages in a vary similar style. "Glacial Movements" is more pseudo Power Metal. "Intermissione" is a waste of time and the over sixteen minute closing title track brings the whole 'kitchen sink' idea together for one last blow. Running Out Of Daylight might be that perfect release for those into critically acclaimed vogue but as far as a listening experience I got bored after the second play. This brings us back to the that'll do term 'progressive' which gets thrown in front of traditional genre names in order to pique interest when in reality it's a cover word for overkill or more often pretentious.