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  #11  
Old 09-02-2009, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by DethMaiden View Post
I'll put it on a few more times.
Do.

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"Throwing a Donner Party at Sea (Physeter Catodon)" would be the highlight,
Correct!

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but even that gets stomped all over by the likes of Neonate, Ampullae of Lorenzini, Summit, and Metridium Field
The four best songs from Metridium Fields (and in the right order, too).

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its furthermore disappointing that they wrote that song before Metridium Field, meaning that the best song on the new record is an old song.
It's an old song, but it kicks so much more ass now. The thing is, they had a whole different sound when the song was first written, and the original version (which is on the "Monster in the Creek" EP) has a lot of keyboards and other funky stuff in it. It's actually a cool song as well, but the fact that they dusted off an old favorite and gave it a whole new, awesome facelift is actually a testament to the strength of the song, IMO.

Last but not least, here is my list of tracks from most favorite to least, just to maybe give you some ideas on where best to focus as you listen some more:

Throwing a Donner Party at Sea - Crushing. Bombastic. Awesome.
Blue Linckia - Epic. Dark and personal (read the lyrics).
Dead Man Slough - Even darker, almost to the point of being morbidly funny (REALLY read the lyrics!).
Panthalassa - Also crushing. Very heavy and expansive, like the ancient world-covering omni-ocean after which the song is named...
La Brea Tar Pits - Took some repeated listening, but this one is good (even better live).
Sevengill - The best "slow song" on the album - the guest instrumentation & vocals are added to great effect here, IMHO.
Emerald Bay - Best vocals on the album - this song is awesome, and also deep (one of several about suicide). Nice oboe (played by Jackie's sister).
Rubicon Wall - This is another suicide song - it's about the album's lead character (which is based on the lead character in Aaron's as-yet-unpublished graphic novel) throwing himself off the edge of the abyss. Tragic.



Sutterville - Not bad, but I sometimes skip it - the story line is interesting (and true).
Mormon Island - I usually skip this one - it does have some pretty haunting vocals, though...
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  #12  
Old 09-02-2009, 12:12 PM
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Yeah, I'm finishing up another listen...this album just isn't that good, man.
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  #13  
Old 09-02-2009, 12:39 PM
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Yeah, I'm finishing up another listen...this album just isn't that good, man.
Hmmm. A very unexpected reaction. What do you not like? Or what do you feel is missing that you found to be so compelling on Metridium Fields?
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  #14  
Old 09-02-2009, 12:48 PM
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Hmmm. A very unexpected reaction. What do you not like? Or what do you feel is missing that you found to be so compelling on Metridium Fields?
Not one song outside of "Throwing a Donner Party at Sea" really grabs your attention. It's just pleasant music that drifts in and then drifts out, and I think the Pink Floyd influence that drove a lot of the slow sections of Metridium Fields has been all but abandoned. I love what they did with the whale-song sax in the title track of that album, for example, and it doesn't overstay its welcome, but this album...it just doesn't MAKE me want to hear it. It just sort of happens.
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  #15  
Old 09-02-2009, 01:38 PM
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Fair enough. I'll admit, it's not exactly "Gin" (which grabs you by the balls and shakes you around violently from the very start).

I think that what compels me to listen to "The Ichthyologist" more than you is that I loved "Metridium Fields" so much that, I was extremely pumped its release months before it came out - I pre-ordered it so soon after the announcement was made that I got the 22nd numbered copy out of 1,000 that were pressed - and as soon as I got my hands on it, I dissected all the lyrics to the songs and the meanings behind the titles and everything immediately.

For example, did you know that every genus and species in the song titles has a direct relationship with the subject of each song? Sutterville was a real place, and the story of what happened there (a cholera epidemic that killed hundreds of people - the bodies were buried in mass graves) is told in the song. So was Mormon Island - it's an old gold-mining town that was flooded by the Folsom Dam project. Dead Man Slough is also a real place - I don't know if there are bodies in it, but the story told in the song is awesomely grim even if it is fictional (which I assume it is). The song Blue Linckia uses the metaphor of the subject starfish (which is huge, by the way - like 10" to 12" across) growing back its limbs to convey what the character in the story is saying, "If you were to sever my arm / I would grow one more / As I regenerate I'll still have another four" - in other words, hurt me if you want - I'll bounce back - fuck you very much (nice!).

Once I found out what all these songs were about, similarly to what happened with you and "Gin", my interest in the album went up exponentially. I was hooked, and now more than ever - after literally hundreds of listens, I just know the songs so well that I live them out every time I play the album. There is some really good stuff on this album, but maybe you have to really want to look hard enough to find it all - or maybe it's just a matter of taste. I just thought that anybody who loved Metridium Fields would love this even more, because I have to say, the songwriting is even better here than on Fields. No, seriously - it really is.

Here are some of the hidden (?) gems that compel me to listen - and keep listening:

Panthalassa - the last ninety seconds of the song just KILL (distortion, much?) - and check out the high note from Jackie at the end!
Dead Man Slough - banjo, extremely dark lyrics "The letters he wrote you / Were left in plain view / I recited them aloud as I was running him through"...poetry!
Donner Party - trumpets, Karyn Crisis screaming, rage, people getting eaten by sharks...hello!?!
Sevengill - 4:45 through to the end...the excellent juxtaposition of Anneke van Giersbergen's pretty vocals against Aaron's angst-filled bellows - VERY nice!
Blue Linckia - from 4:00 to the end, with the trumpets and keyboards that come in at around 5:30 - this is probably the highlight of the entire album for me...I fucking DEFY you to not bang your head during this part! Seriously. Try it. You can't do it.

There's just so much to love when you dig into this album - but to each his own, I guess.

Nat
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Last edited by Natrlhi; 09-02-2009 at 01:50 PM.
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  #16  
Old 09-02-2009, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Natrlhi View Post
Fair enough. I'll admit, it's not exactly "Gin" (which grabs you by the balls and shakes you around violently from the very start).

I think that what compels me to listen to "The Ichthyologist" more than you is that I loved "Metridium Fields" so much that, I was extremely pumped its release months before it came out - I pre-ordered it so soon after the announcement was made that I got the 22nd numbered copy out of 1,000 that were pressed - and as soon as I got my hands on it, I dissected all the lyrics to the songs and the meanings behind the titles and everything immediately.

For example, did you know that every genus and species in the song titles has a direct relationship with the subject of each song? Sutterville was a real place, and the story of what happened there (a cholera epidemic that killed hundreds of people - the bodies were buried in mass graves) is told in the song. So was Mormon Island - it's an old gold-mining town that was flooded by the Folsom Dam project. Dead Man Slough is also a real place - I don't know if there are bodies in it, but the story told in the song is awesomely grim even if it is fictional (which I assume it is). The song Blue Linckia uses the metaphor of the subject starfish (which is huge, by the way - like 10" to 12" across) growing back its limbs to convey what the character in the story is saying, "If you were to sever my arm / I would grow one more / As I regenerate I'll still have another four" - in other words, hurt me if you want - I'll bounce back - fuck you very much (nice!).

Once I found out what all these songs were about, similarly to what happened with you and "Gin", my interest in the album went up exponentially. I was hooked, and now more than ever - after literally hundreds of listens, I just know the songs so well that I live them out every time I play the album. There is some really good stuff on this album, but maybe you have to really want to look hard enough to find it all - or maybe it's just a matter of taste. I just thought that anybody who loved Metridium Fields would love this even more, because I have to say, the songwriting is even better here than on Fields. No, seriously - it really is.

Here are some of the hidden (?) gems that compel me to listen - and keep listening:

Panthalassa - the last ninety seconds of the song just KILL (distortion, much?) - and check out the high note from Jackie at the end!
Dead Man Slough - banjo, extremely dark lyrics "The letters he wrote you / Were left in plain view / I recited them aloud as I was running him through"...poetry!
Donner Party - trumpets, Karyn Crisis screaming, rage, people getting eaten by sharks...hello!?!
Sevengill - 4:45 through to the end...the excellent juxtaposition of Anneke van Giersbergen's pretty vocals against Aaron's angst-filled bellows - VERY nice!
Blue Linckia - from 4:00 to the end, with the trumpets and keyboards that come in at around 5:30 - this is probably the highlight of the entire album for me...I fucking DEFY you to not bang your head during this part! Seriously. Try it. You can't do it.

There's just so much to love when you dig into this album - but to each his own, I guess.

Nat
You're definitely right in terms of the deepness but I guess it's just different things that grab different people. I think my x-factor reasons for loving Gin that have nothing to do with the music have just as much of an effect on my ranking it at #1 as the music itself. And you're clearly way more privy to the shit on this album than I am, which naturally enhances enjoyment.

I just like Hemingway and fucking better than the ocean I guess.
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  #17  
Old 09-02-2009, 08:43 PM
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Natrlhi Natrlhi is offline
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You're definitely right in terms of the deepness but I guess it's just different things that grab different people. I think my x-factor reasons for loving Gin that have nothing to do with the music have just as much of an effect on my ranking it at #1 as the music itself. And you're clearly way more privy to the shit on this album than I am, which naturally enhances enjoyment.

I just like Hemingway and violent fucking better than the ocean I guess.
Fixed.
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  #18  
Old 09-03-2009, 05:22 AM
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Fixed.
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  #19  
Old 09-03-2009, 07:29 AM
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And I think a big reason Gin grabbed me lyrically and conceptually the way it did was I really really liked the music in the first place. I'm a fan of albums that grow on you, but there has to be some immediate love. I'm obviously not going to totally change by opinion of The Ichthyologist by learning more about the concept. That kind of cheapens the fact that at any album's heart, it's music, and the music has to grab you before the other stuff can fall into place.

Glad you like it though, they're a band who truly deserves support. I don't regret buying it and I think they'll make good stuff in the future, and their live show was fantastic.
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