BEARDFISH — The Void (review)

BEARDFISH — The Void album cover Album · 2012 · Metal Related Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
adg211288
The Review Revision Project #1

Introduction: The Review Revision Project is a review series focusing on albums that I have reviewed before, likely many years ago. However even though the older review may have been well written, I have found myself no longer able to stand by its content.

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The Void (2012) is the seventh studio album by Swedish progressive rock act Beardfish. The almost seventy minute long album contains ten tracks including the epic near sixteen minute Note. There is also a bonus track which is a piano version of the song Ludvig & Sverker. The Void is my first and so far only encounter with the music of Beardfish, despite it now being eight years since the album's release and the first time I heard it.

There may be two reasons for that. For one thing, The Void is, from what I'm led to believe, at bit of an oddity in the Beardfish discography, because it's their only release that is significantly influenced by metal music, which is my primary interest and what drew me to the album in the first place eight years ago. The second is the reason why I've selected The Void to be the first (and so far only planned) entry in The Review Revision Project series: it's that much of a grower. The original review I gave this album was positive, but it was hesitant praise. I wasn't wowed by The Void, at the time. There were a couple of tracks I really liked like the metallic Voluntary Slavery and the epic instrumental Seventeen Again, but overall I merely found it solidly crafted and enjoyable, but lacking something that would have given it that extra sparkle of an excellent record.

The problem I assure you readers, was not with the album, but with my ears. Years later, I randomly decided that I would take a fresh listen to The Void. An 'Oh yeah, haven't heard that lately' kind of thing. I couldn't especially recall what I'd specifically written about it at the time of review, but I soon realised that what I was hearing wasn't adding up with the rating I'd given it. At the time, I just left my old review and bumped the score up marginally by half a star.

Yet still, that wasn't doing The Void any kind of justice. Which brings us to today. The proper reappraisal of The Void, having finally bought the CD of it and not just relying on Spotify.

The talk of the time that Beardfish had gone metal was a bit exaggerated, as it did tend to leave one expecting to hear a fully fledged progressive metal record from the Swedes. It did at least turn out to be half true. There's plenty of metal to be found during The Void, though primarily the band remain playing progressive rock. I think some progressive rock bands occasionally sound metallic by fluke rather than design, but that's not the case here. Beardfish clearly knows they're adding metal to their sound. After all, they even put down a couple of brief death growls in the tracks Voluntary Slavery and This Matter of Mine.

However it's a mixed bag of style, not just metal. There's prog rock. There's psych rock. If you've got the bonus track there's a pure piano song too, which incidentally is actually a very good rendition of the track that brings its beautiful melody out all the more than normal. What in 2012 seemed like such a mixed bag of styles that it didn't flow too well to my ears, that were obviously in need of servicing at the time, now seems to be the very reason that The Void is not just a great album, it's one of the best albums of its year. Despite first hearing it eight years ago, it's only today that I really feel blown away by The Void. This album sure played a long game.

It saddens me to see that among the Beardfish discography this tends to be rated lower. I mean, I still haven't heard their other work, but even so, having had it really open up to me over time I can't say that I consider The Void as anything less than a progressive masterpiece, and I don't think it gets recognition as such. I certainly didn't regard it as such, at first. One chance whim to play it again changed a lot. Maybe more people should do that with The Void. They might just be pleasantly surprised.
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UMUR wrote:
31 days ago
I occasionally re-write my older reviews too, if I feel they aren´t well written or if I don´t agree with my past self´s opinion anymore :-)
siLLy puPPy wrote:
32 days ago
I have most Beardfish albums except the first and last. This is the only album that has any elements of metal. The rest are pure eclectic prog thru and thru. Personally i recommend the Sleeping In Traffic albums. Those are the high points. This one is pretty good too as is Destined Solitaire.

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