Abre Ojos - Gates
Secrets Of Giza
11 songs (55:00)
Release year: 2014
Reviewed by Neill

Abre Ojos is an electronic/ambient project from the mind of Scott Baker. The project, from what I have read is based on audio as well as visual stimulation. However, I only have the audio available to me, so I do feel I may be missing some of the atmosphere and impact of the record. As mentioned in my WOLD review, I am by no means an expert on ambient/electronic/noise music. However, I do certainly appreciate this type of music. The opening track, Falling Suns, Dying Stars starts the album off with just noise. There is no real structure apparent at first until near the one minute mark. The song continues to follow this idea, and layer sound upon sound for the duration of the track. One thing becomes very obvious, this is not a "metal" record at all, which is not always a bad thing.

The rest of the album follows along this same type of idea. Sound layered upon sound, seemingly at times with no reason, but there is always some structure or purpose within the noise. At times there are very industrial sounding elements, literally like machinery being toyed with. On top of that we get the synth noises, which are usually very dark and ominous, and really overtake the listener. We do occasionally get voices as well, obscured by electronics and made to sound computerized. A track like Light On Our Foreheads takes a slow approach at first, and has an eerie feeling within it. The synths kick in, sporadically at first before the listener gets pounded with some heavy sounds.

When listening to the album, some of the darker tones remind me of Sunn O))) or even Nadja among others. There are some screeching high pitched electronics, but things mostly stay within the darker, more industrialized sounds. The synth is at the forefront for this record and does do some interesting things within the 11 tracks. I did find myself closing my eyes and allowing the music to take over more than once, which it does a good job of doing. The actual production is great as well as the sounds are clear, and each layer of electronics can be heard, and do make for a really surrounding experience. However, despite clear and thought out songs, it doesn't change the fact the we get nearly an hour of pretty much the same thing.

A lot of the tracks on the album do sound the same, and with nearly an hour of play time, the tracks do wear a bit thin. I would assume this is where the visual component would make the album feel more complete or not drag as much. The sounds presented are very encapsulating, and they do have a very introspective result, but a little more variety out of the 11 tracks would have been nicer to hear. I have heard electronic bands incorporate different sounds and different vibes on their records to usually better results, so I felt a little let down by this, especially when it started off very strong in my mind.

There is a lot to enjoy in the record here. For an open mind, this is worth checking out, as the sound manipulations, and the layering of the noises works very well. The songs do have a good flow to them, and the album as a whole does feel as if it follows the same path. There are moments of intense noise, followed by some serene sounds and feelings, but the pattern is a little to similar form track to track. When listening to this record, it made me think more of Drone bands than ambient or noise bands, and I do not feel that is a bad thing, but I do think there are similar bands making more interesting movements. Again, knowing the band works with both audio and visual aspects in mind, I do feel I may be missing something, but the audio itself does not warrant many repeat listens. For the open minded (as the album is not "metal" by any means) this is worth listening to a track or two and deciding if you want more. However, this type of album would have a specific audience and I do feel they would enjoy the album more. Overall, I like this, but I think it could be better, and could have more impact and staying power with some more variety.

I was able to find Light On Our Foreheads via a link on the band's Facebook page with the visual component. You can view it here. I feel the visual does add a bit to the track, but to me it does not fit the feeling I get from the track, and seems out of place. However, It is nice to experience a track from the record as intended, so please check out that option.

Killing Songs :
Falling Suns, Dying Stars, Light On Our Foreheads, Fractured Signals, From Here, From Centre, From Self
Neill quoted 65 / 100
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