Oliver Kaah - _Photosynthesis_
(Independent, 2013)
by: Dan Lake (7 out of 10)
It takes some cheek to pair a song called "Photosynthesis" with another called "Dead Leaves". It takes maybe a bit more to let a lyric like "Stay with me, babe" flow into some unapologetic black metal. What I'm saying is that Mr. Oliver Kaah, a highbrow rock composer out of Germany whose _Photosynthesis_ is his second released album (by his own admission, he's written others that have not yet seen the light of Bandcamp), clearly thinks tradition and status quo are a mighty load of horse poo and is willing to put the heads of footstep-followers on prettily ornamented pikes to prove it.

_Photosynthesis_ often sounds like Devin Townsend might have if he had expanded his music outward from already bloated mutants like _Ziltoid_ and _Deconstruction_ rather than knitting his ideas into succinct songs, as in the case of _Addicted_ or _Epicloud_. There's fiery aggression stacked next to confessional crooning, gorgeous chiming accents placed over brutal chugging, three songs past the ten minute mark and only one under seven minutes. The music all feels brilliantly conceived and well executed, but it's all hard to pin down or develop a strong sense of direction. Individual moments feel amazing; the whole is a bit ethereal and inaccessible. The baritone monk-chant clean singing style can be off-putting, though it's not without a certain appeal; truthfully, it's balanced quite well with all the blustery blackened rasping on offer throughout the record.

While previous album _Antigravity_ was a Masters seminar on positivity in heavy music, there's quite a bit more darkness this time around. Not that _Photosynthesis_ doesn't reach for the clouds often and easily, but the artist's admitted enjoyment of certain black metal stalwarts figures prominently into the album's character, which bleeds out some of the ruddy glow in favor of some painful grimacing. _Photosynthesis_ is a fine listening experience, which will likely reveal itself further after a few dozen spins. For now, I'll use it as background music while I tend to my garden of sunflowers and hemlock.

Contact: http://oliverkaah.bandcamp.com/

(article published 30/6/2013)


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