“ Artist: At War With Self / Import / Audio CD released at JFK „
At War With Self is led by Glenn Snelwar of highly experimental progressive band Gordian Knot, and while this spin-off project is less extreme by comparison, it will still be of interest to fans of progressive rock and metal due to its admirable avoidance of deterring virtuoso performances and fret masturbation. It's rather a distinctly modern blend of psychedelic prog, largely instrumental and heavy on acoustic guitars, drums playing to their own time regardless of anyone else, and an additional electronic later that increases in intensity as the album moves on before succumbing to a pleasant and comparatively simple acoustic ballad at the end.
With its seemingly random time signatures, weird effects and shifting between styles with each song from more rock-oriented pieces to softer, vocal-led efforts, this still has the same potential to alienate as other experimental bands, but the acoustic base means that it at least doesn't try to force squealing guitar riffs and down the listener's throat, and there's at least a greater possibility that there's something for everyone. Especially if you like Spanish-tinged acoustic guitar with a bloke warbling softly over the top, drums messing around somewhere at the back and an electronic hum; this would be right up your street.
'Ursa Minor,' 'Refugee' and the acoustic guitar solo spot of opener 'Acts of God' all show a softer side that will be potentially more accessible to people who bought this on a whim because they liked the fly on the cover, while 'Choke Loud' and '911' offer something for more experienced prog fans, though it may not be pretty. The album even manages to sustain a consistent atmosphere through all of this, but it loses out for trying too hard on occasion and at other times simply being dull and overlong. It's the kind of album to buy for guitar players who feel they're too advanced to listen to normal music and need to seek out increasingly experimental heights, before one day realising that they got it right in the first place and the Beatles were best after all.
1. Acts of God
4. Ursa Minor
5. End in Blue
7. No Place
8. Choke Loud