Old Silver Key - Tales of Wandering Review
by Matt Hensch
With Drudkh diving into the post-rock void with "Handful of Stars" and the circumventing influence trailing Neige of Alcest, Old Silver Key almost seems like a match made in tranquil heaven. The aforementioned band created the Old Silver Key project to form something chilly like a November breeze, and one would be crazy to trash the addition of the French vocalist to this experimental project. Simply put, the two seem made for each other, yet "Tales of Wandering" is miles away from what it tries to be. Instead of producing a captivating journey through the imaginations of poets, Old Silver Key bumps on in a calamitous, forgettable sequence of powerless shoegaze/post-rock occasionally locking in Drudkh's black metal lore with little perseverance.
And it is very important to stress the fundamentals of Old Silver Key: this is pretty much the polar-opposite of a metal album, even by Alcest standards. While its rudimentary featheriness does not bring down "Tales of Wandering," the vapid songwriting and the insipid instrumentation do, and the collaboration of experts specializing in the field of melancholic rock fail to make Old Silver Key worthwhile. So, being that Old Silver Key is the brainchild of Drudkh's Roman Saenko and involves his entire band, one could expect some very rock-orientated moments, especially compared to the band's works prior to "Tales of Wandering." As I said though, this is nowhere near a metal album. There are trace amounts of an occasional section of tremolo picking, but again, the motifs of post-rock/shoegaze are the focal points of the record, probably instilled for Neige's dreamy vocals.
There's no clean transition here, so I'm just going to drop the bomb: this is some of the most unmemorable, recycled stuff imaginable. The tracks generally include the same norms reshuffled into powerless guitar chords and piecemeal arrangements that all blend together, and time after time the band refuses to drop anything relevant or captivating. Oddly enough, Neige should shine here, but he really doesn't. His voice is generally whiny and flat, just kind of sprawling a spike above the flavorless foundation with little to contribute or exercise, which is certainly disappointing, because he's supposed to be this project's main reason for fruition. Giving him some credit, his vocals fit, but his actions are so dire and powerless that it really doesn't matter overall to the record's theme or nature.
Interestingly, the semi-sequential burst of Drudkh's black metal traits add a vibrant theme to the album, and things certainly turn around when other instruments (pianos, keyboards) make waves instead of the expected rock-orientated trite which consumes nearly all of "Tales of Wandering." There are no true standouts that I care to mention, because again, the lifelessness consumes everything this project has to offer. Essentially, Old Silver Key is an embodiment of a generic post-rock group siphoning every last drop of originality for some fragile sense of emotion or imagination, and it's perfectly normal to feel like Old Silver Key isn't going anywhere. As you see, Old Silver Key flops in the honest opinion of this reviewer, and I'd definitely skip this even if you're a Drudkh fanboy or Alcest scribe to avoid the impending dissatisfaction that will certainly follow.
Old Silver Key - Tales of Wandering
tell a friend about this review
Thrash Worthy Link