Frantic Bleep
The Sense Apparatus

Frantic Bleep
Feature ImageThe Sense Apparatus
(The End Records)
If prior albums from The End by Peccatum, Arcturus, Winds, Age of Silence and Madder Mortem bored you with their overly artistic facades, Frantic Bleep is just for you. Culling elements from all the aforementioned acts and even borrowing members from Madder Mortem (Kjetil Fosseid, Daniel Solheim and Agnete M. Kirkevaag appear as guest vocalists), Norway’s Frantic Bleep deliver a expectedly enigmatic “The End Records” type album, that’s to say, avant-garde, experimental and slightly pompous, but with a sinister, undulating undercurrent that’s far more oppressive than most of the mentioned bands. Not to mention a production to die for than retains its gloomy majesty with a grittier, more powerful tone.

With the creative ease of Arcturus, Frantic Bleep delve into black metal progressive nature with appropriate amounts of programming, synths and bizarre song imagery that’s neither cosmos themed nor trifling; “Wait and See….Come see the Flood stricken areas! The stretch of red boggy land, tinware rendezvous, the age of the new manure. Wait and See” cries the introductory “A Survey” before cascading into the lush but disorientating lead off track, “The Expulsion” that even with Paul Mozart Bjørke’s sullen croon quivers and lurches with a menacing leer that’s still evocative and eloquent as anything Winds has done. “Sins of Omission” saunters with a sneering confidence as its serpentine chorus slithers with a ominous atmosphere that Frantic Bleep’s peers tend to dress up in a more frivolous or romantic guise. Only Madder Mortem shares the same foreboding ambivalence within their lucidity.

The slower tempo of “But a Memory” brings to mind Arcturus again, but it’s still sheathed in a less than jovial vibrance partly due to the sultry but poisonous tones of Agnete M. Kirkevaag. The pacing of the album is a perfectly rendered variety of hues that all reside on the darker side of the mood spectrum. The rending cello laden start of “Mausolos” could have come from the Se7en soundtrack, and its stark piano mixed with its shimmering build is haunting and nerve wracking. The album essentially is one long hazy trip into the recesses of the subconscious, the album is never satisfied with sticking to one strict paradigm, but it never comes across as overtly forced as Arcturus. The shift from “Mausolos” to the almost crushing and discordant “Curtainraiser” is jarring, but seamless within the whole of the album. Frantic Bleep despite all their artistic, visionary structures that share with all the mentioned acts, never feel the need to gloss up their sound with needless overtures or mindless tangents for the sake of being progressive. Frantic Bleep’s forward thinking tinkering is restrained and also kept in check by the albums overall depressive nature. There’s no Andy Winter tinkling or ‘happy’ Hellhammer fills here, its all almost purposefully reigned in. “Mandaughter” even sees some harsh black metal vocals used amid the surprisingly stout riffage. Only for “Nebolous Termini” do Frantic Bleep come across as slightly more pretentious and the dark veil is lifted favor of a more cosmic themed opus, but the superb production still manages to lace even the most star gazing riffs with a sturdy gravity. Album closer “Cone” is a fitting epitaph for with its suididal drawl.

The End is of to great start to 2005 and Frantic Bleep has released the first must have of the year.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 3rd, 2005

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