Talk about false advertising. As far as I can tell, the self-described "PsychoProgDoom" band Lesbian is based out of Seattle, not the Aegean island. Putting geographic misrepresentation aside, their latest album Forestelevision is truly a monster to behold.
If you couldn't gather from their self description, Lesbian are a notoriously difficult band to pigeonhole. They have the psychedelic guitars straight out of stoner metal, the complex compositions of progressive music, and the slow, lumbering presence of doom metal. Over the course of the forty-four minute title track (which comprises the entire album), Lesbian explore these and more, sometimes drawing from other styles like thrash and post-metal. The styles are always separate and disjointed, however--far from attempting these all at once, Lesbian merely switch styles on a dime, stringing a long line of musically distinct but thematically linked passages. As a result, the album can be aurally jarring, changing unexpectedly without notice or reason.
But that is the most easily overlooked of the issues. The real problem is that, at times, it can sound like Lesbian are running with less than perfect ideas or repeating good ones too often in order to fill up space--it seems like their desire to write a huge piece of music overshadowed their better judgement of musical quality, leaving a work with noticeable dregs about it. I suppose you have to run with whatever you have when you're writing a forty minute song, but shoehorning in sub-par work is inexcusable, and this album's repetitive nature can easily become a problem.
However, if you can get past the occasional hiccups, there is a lot of quality work to find in Forestelevision. The shocking juxtaposition of languid doom metal with uptempo psychedelic shuffling is freshly insightful, and their unabashed dedication to their art is worthy of admiration. The traditional, tastefully low-quality stoner metal mixing is well at play on this album, but it works surprisingly to its benefit--rather than highlighting the downsides, it gives the album an aura of authenticity and earnestness that only makes the rough edges that much more forgivable. For every small error, there's a beautifully rendered climax of euphoric doom metal to overshadow it, and it's quite easy to lose time while listening to this gigantic piece.
Though it has some noticeable problems, Forestelevision is a fantastically creative album from a band who will not be restrained. If you're willing to overlook the occasional misstep, then you should definitely give this one a listen--its merits far outweigh its drawbacks.
Recommended if you like: Sleep, Boris, A Storm of Light
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