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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Rakoth - Jabberworks [Code666 Records - 2001]

Russian geniuses Rakoth have returned with a new CD. Well... not new exactly. This a remake of old Demos by the band and two brand spanking new songs. The band had received a number of requests for the old demos, and since the distribution was lacking and the sound quality apparently wasn't too hot, they decided to let Code666 bring them to the world. Now the real question of course is, should we be happy that they did ?

The answer is quite simple really. Yes, we should. The band completely redid the songs and even got an orchestra to help them out. When compared to their previous CD, the songs sound slightly better thought out, even though most of them are older, and the production has improved considerably.

Be honest... when you read the word orchestra, did you panic and think of the Metallica and Scorpions attempt to include some violins ? Rakoth have implemented the orchestra in a much better way. The orchestra plays parts that would normally be played by keyboards, but has been given an important role. Nowhere they take up the front, unless the song really leaves them the room to do so, and the situation asks for it. This also means that where normally bands would stop with but one or two melody-lines (simply because a keyboardist has got only two hands), the use of an orchestra means that Rakoth can add even more layers to their music. And of course the sound is much more natural than when they'd use keyboards. I'm very pleased with the way the Russian Grotesque Orchestra is incorporated.

So, now you know all about the orchestra they've used... but I've still to describe to you the musical style of Rakoth. Okay. Ouch. This is a difficult one. On the previous CD Rustam already denied playing Black Metal and he even doubted playing metal at all. I still considered "Planeshift" to be within the realm of Black Metal though. "Jabberworks" definitely falls out of it. The band mixes elements from Metal such as the blastbeats, or guitars with pure melancholical melodies, flutes and clean, black and (new!) an occasional Death grunt. In one of the two new tracks ("Der Jammerwoch" - in German!), the band even shows themselves very capable of playing jazz. (A nice added touch in that particular song is the one-time use of a melody-line found on the "Planeshift"-CD.) They've created a thoroughly original sound.

There's a minor problem I have with this CD though. Even though the production has been improved a lot compared to the previous one (especially the flutes and guitars sound a lot better), the vocals have more power and sound more convincing, one weakness the band retained from their previous CD; the drumcomputer. Rustam will doubtless disagree with me, but I think that the drumcomputer could be programmed a lot better still. It has improved and at times the drumpatterns are truly great and add to the music, but there is one big problem; the breaks. They just don't sound convincing, and at times simply don't fit the music. During the breaks they occasionally float all over the place, and the drum rolls still have ample room for improvement.

Regardless of this minor problem and even though no lyrics are included in the Digipack (not even to the new songs), I can honestly say that this band belongs at the top of the scene for free-thinking bands. The high score is fully deserved.

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Sander Hordijk
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