Last Leaf Down - 'Bright Wide Colder'

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Last Leaf Down - 'Bright Wide Colder'

Surreal and ethereal.

Guilty pleasures? No, I've never really understood that term either. In my opinion, you either love something and are proud to say so, or you don't. For instance, I'm proud to be a full-time member of the AOR Mafia, however, I also love bands such as Opeth, Anathema, Katatonia, Avatarium, Candlemass etc.

Why the need for this declaration? That is because the promotional information sent to me for this release suggested that Last Leaf Down had a sound reminiscent of the recent Opeth albums mixed with Anathema, only with more of a modern twist. It was a description that gave me the impression that this would be something I'd rather enjoy listening to and, on the whole, the info on this occasion wasn't too far off the mark (a miracle I know). LLD do have a way of writing songs that whilst being dark and full of dramatic flair, also have that uplifting feel and hopeful outlook that Anathema have employed in their own music over their last few years.

I would use just two words to describe the music of LLD – surreal and ethereal. There are no solos as such and no devastating vocals that nail melodies into your brain. Instead, LLD create a soundscape that elicits a coldness that wraps itself around the listener, evoking feelings of dark winter days when you feel that the sun will never return. 'Purple Skies', 'Ghost Trails', 'Blind Mind, 'Cold Wind', the sweeping 'Suspire and 'Dust' aren't easy songs to like or understand at first. However, given time and patience, the sinister musical vistas fashioned by LLD will work their subtle charms on you and you'll find yourself returning to this world of ice and shade time and again.

Last Leaf Down aren't a band I can pigeonhole easily. They will, I suspect, be a band you either appreciate or you don't. If AOR/Melodic Rock is your main love, then I would hazard a guess that maybe this album won't be for you. Alternatively, I would like to suggest that the musically adventurous amongst our readers should at least try to give this enigmatic album a listen.

Ian Johnson

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