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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Review: BizarrOtural - Looking In A Mask

BizarrOtural is a French one-man project that has been founded in 2015 by a guy named ‘Ghost Wolf’. His true identity remains a mystery for now, and although his reasons for founding BizarrOtural are known they raise more questions than they answer. According to his Bandcamp site he has had both positive and negative experiences with different projects and he recently went through a dark period in his life. This made him decide to translate his state of mind into metal music, thus creating ‘Looking in a mask’, which seems an appropriate title. It does not get any clearer or more detailed, so it’s safe to say we know absolutely nothing about him, except for the fact he indeed is a man. His face is vaguely familiar, but I doubt I know who he really is. Not that it matters that much, he is in no way obliged to share anything with us, although technically he does, through his music.

So let’s focus on that then. His music is actually a lot like himself: mysterious. According to himself he plays bizarre, psychotic mysterious metal, which, again, raises more questions than it answers and to be honest, after listening to ‘Looking in a mask’ most of those remain unanswered. Is that a bad thing? Well, I suppose it depends on what you are looking for. If you’re looking for coherent music with recognizable, repeating riffs and rhythms I suggest you walk right past this album. It really has nothing to offer you. If, on the other hand, you like experimental music that defies logic and rhythm as we know it, you might have ran into a gem here, because that is exactly what ‘Looking in a mask’ brings you. That, however, also implies I have my work as reviewer cut out for me, considering the huge complexity of every single song.

Just by listening to the album opener ‘Deterioration’ you get a good idea of what lies ahead. After a somewhat spooky intro the song gets going with a short simple catchy riff, which returns a couple of times throughout the song. In between there’s room for an extreme amount of intermezzos and the whole package is woven together into a song, which, despite the huge difference between the various little pieces, actually does sound like a song. That is actually the strong point of ‘Looking in a mask’. There’s about a million little pieces of music and sounds that by themselves seem insignificant and incoherent. However, once they have been thrown together, stirred, not shaken, and then poured into separate compositions they actually sound like songs even though you most likely do not hear that at once.

There is no way I can describe the type of music that we are dealing with here, let alone each individual song. Not just because there’s no two minutes alike, but also because there is no two minutes in the same style either. Though the focus is definitely on guitar work, an instrument that Mr. Ghost Wolf seems to know inside out, there’s a solid rhythm section supporting the tempo, style and mood changes, which in itself is quite an achievement. There’s an abundance of soundscapes to complete the confusing, complex atmosphere of the compositions, making the songs leaving you flabbergasted with its twists, turns, intros and endings more than once. Come to think of it, bizarre, psychotic mysterious metal doesn’t sound that far off after all. Let’s just keep it at that.

‘Looking in a mask’ is not an album, it’s a curious entity, with its at times heavy guitar work, it’s rhythm section that, amazingly, keeps up with the style and speed defying leaps and its soundscapes that vary from soothing to psychotic and everything in between. I get the feeling it’s a collection of songs that reflect the heart and the mind of a troubled man. A very interesting approach that leads to a difficult to comprehend piece of work, which needs, and probably deserves, time to grow on you. Interpreting someone else’s feelings in music is always hard, but in this case it’s virtually impossible. You can at least try, though, you might be surprised by the outcome.

Written by Henric van Essen


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