Lately I’ve really been looking for metal bands that did (or are still doing) something different, or Satan forbid, original. As much as I love metal even the most dedicated ears need a change of pace and one of the aspects of metal I praise the most is that you can find metal that is so vastly different from all other types that it seems like you’re listening to something completely different. Thanks to my buddy Brain Smasher, who’s an expert at obscure and unique metal metal music, I have Sculptured’s The SPear of the Lily is Aureoled. Right off the bat that title sounds a little art school, artsy fartsy (combined with the album cover) so that may give you a bit of an idea where this is going. This is a softy focussed, more avant-garde, death metal approach. More time is spent crafting theatrical and dramatic sounds and emotions than is spent on making “brutal fucking riffs, man”, which there’s nothing wrong with, this just isn’t that kind of album. Sculptured is more likely yo break out into a piano solo than a guitar solo, or feature a weird, jazzy, saxophone infused interlude than any kind of break down.
There’s a lot going on here. A lot of different instruments, and styles, and vocals, but it’s eclectic nature is it’s strength. It’s all rather elaborate and seemingly 100% serious which does give it an air of pretension but hey, what else would you expect from some of Agalloch’s founding members. Oh shit, that’s right, this album came out a year before Agalloch’s Pale Folklore and featured Don Anderson and Jason William Walton. I didn’t mention it earlier because once you knew who was in Sculptured all you’d be able to do is think about Agalloch, and now that you do know it’s all you’re going to want to hear. Granted, there’s some similarities between the two. There’s some folk elements, the eclectic nature, the romanticized lyrics and themes. I’d argue that Agalloch got way more cheesy than this but I know that’s walking on thin ice with how people are so maniacal about that band. I don’t even dislike Agalloch, but I have to say, I prefer this. It’s more fun, and stranger and that’s what I’m wanting to hear now.