Voices - An Audience of Mannequins (EP)
Church Road
Progressive/Death Metal, Ambient
3 songs (13:19)
Release year: 2021
Official Bandcamp, Homepage
Reviewed by Goat

A charity release to aid Dementia UK, the latest release from UK post-black/death/prog experimentalists Voices is a true mixed bag of styles, if not mixed quality. The band have moved away from the Akercockean violence of their first couple of albums, yet the opening title track here is a welcome shift back towards that heaviness. It's an immediate intense and heavy torrential downpour of insistent riffing, Deicide-esque growls and snarls atop, soon developing as desperate clean singing joins and the music takes a turn for proggier territories before concluding with more violence and shimmering strings.

It's easily the best thing the band have produced in awhile, and is hopefully sign of resuming aggression from Voices in the future. After that, the eerie and fragile Hostile Confrontation is something of a tribute to the late Scott Walker, haunting vocals over an ambient backdrop that fades in and out - quite close to Ulver at their most ghostly. It's far from bad but is very different to the title track, and those that had an issue with the turn taken on Frightened will not be particularly impressed. Even more so is that relevant for finale piece A Comfortable Distance, piano and strings beneath more clean singing, especially mournful even before you read that the band explain it as simply someone saying goodbye.

Dementia is an awful, terrible burden that robs people of personality, turning relatives into strangers and reducing interest in the little pleasures of life. Voices have produced something depressing yet commendable here, a musical trip that examines what it is to have someone slip away from the person that you once knew and loved. Those who appreciate experimental music, even as it leaves metal's porous borders, will appreciate this, and all should reflect on a condition that affects hundreds of thousands if not millions worldwide.

Killing Songs :
An Audience of Mannequins, Hostile Confrontation
Goat quoted no quote
Other albums by Voices that we have reviewed:
Voices - Frightened reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Voices - London reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Voices - From the Human Forest Create a Fugue of Imaginary Rain reviewed by Goat and quoted 78 / 100
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