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Monuments demonstrates a point of maturity in the music of ACOH that has since been heard growing in more recent recordings. Some of the most powerful moments in the music are also some of the most delicate as Peter balances the solar strength of power and strife with the lunar qualities of stillness and reflection bringing balance to a genre that often stagnates in expressions of overwhelming martial dominance and exaltation.
The rhythmic drum loops are the beginning part of the uphill battle for No Way Out. Often times they're too repetitive which just add to the synthetic sound that music this open and acoustic really can't afford to have.
Having found the movie “Seven Samurai” inspiring Peter Savelkoul set about creating an alternative soundtrack that though inspired by the film is not intended to be a scene by scene score but rather a collection of musical impressions. The first thing that established fans of A Challenge Of Honour are likely to notice on “Seven Samurai” is the quality of the music and the engaging rhythmic percussion Peter has inserted into many songs. Having abandoned his past reliance upon sampled sounds Peter now creates all of the music of A Challenge Of Honour without the assistance of classical music samples. This professionalism can be heard and appreciated throughout the album.
This Dutch based project of Peter Savelkoul is comfortably ensconced as one of the more notable neoclassical-martial acts active today. The first CD of this double CD collection consists of three 10”s originally released on Divine Comedy Records – namely, “Angelic Torment”, (2002) “Nacht Fiel Uber Gothenhafen”, (2003) and “Oradiur Sur Glanes” (2004). These 10”s are conceptually linked under the aegis of “Trilogy of Human Madness”, which is dedicated to the victims of wars and genocides throughout history – of which there are too many to count.
A few other tracks of note on the disc would be the mysterious sounding “Dragon’s Breath” a dark ambient piece evocative of early industrial fused with a bit of classical for good measure. I also have to mention the version of “Europa the Gates of Heaven” that turns up here, it is a driving piece with foreboding synth and not short on the dramatic, it is enough to make one smile warmly.
There are no lyrics to propel the narrative forward, but the cover booklet provides an extensive background story to each track. However, it is not clear how the songs as instrumental compositions propel the music forward. One might well imagine that this could be done by the mood evoked; building towards a climax as the protagonists inner demons declare victory, but there is no sense of momentum within the songs.
An onslaught of extended improvised noise workouts: senseless, abrasive, messy, directionless and ear-wracking. This description right away will dissuade many, but then again there is some fantastic noise.
It feels in fact like, after the extended underworldly travail filled with nightmares and dissolute mystery, the journey finally begins to turn back to the surface. There’s a weary optimism here that I can relate to – and the whole album to this point is like a microcosm for all dark journeys of the heart.
Raw and wild, the music careens in stately fashion from one multiverse to the next, yet it always feels like a brilliance is guiding the arrangements and compositions. A deranged but masterful vision coaxes the helm of this wild and beastly ship on its voyage through the cosmos.