THE SOUNDBYTE – Rivers Of Broken Glass

Label: Aural Music
Release: November 29th  2004
By: Medion
Points: 9,5/10
Time: 45:23
Style: Dark Ambient Rock
URL: The Soundbyte

Imagine going on a boat-trip for two months, looking for musical inspiration on the open sea - what kind of music would you create? Actually I don't know what ideas would come to my mind but I suppose it would be calm and harmonical. Trond Engum - mastermind behind The Third & The Mortal - did this weird trip and came back with the debut of his solo-project THE SOUNDBYTE. And I must say the result is astonishing but also somehow sounding the way I imagined it to be. Actually most of the songs had been written within the last six years, nevertheless recording took place onboard(!) and it is to assume that this fact still contributed loads of atmosphere and ideas to the product.
River Of Broken Glass is a trip into dark ambience, beseeching atmosphere, mixed with dirty guitars and energetic drumming, "Cold Cutting Music", as Engum calls it. And although I don't quite get the essence of this strange description, I have to admit that these 10 tracks have their own identity. Cold but nevertheless organically warm, dark but still containing lots of hope and eventually they are hypnotising and addictive. From the Massive Attack-like songwriting on Fall or Monyon, over to the malicious Addiction Complete (sic!), the Nick Cave-inspired Lie or the Paatos-incluenced Reflections Of Broken Glass, Engum's debut is a stunning peace of music, which has its only real fault in the displaced track Waiting which destroys the flow and homogeneity of the album due to its too positive and jazzy song-structure. Damn! River Of Broken Glass ends in the final and most downtearing song, The Dark, reminding of Moonspell's Tired (without guitars) and leaving the listener mentally in the void.
THE SOUNDBYTE is some of the most impressive works I have heard within the last months afar from the metal-genre, giving me the intention to listen to this piece of avantgardistic art again and again. After having just quit smoking this is a quite positive addiction now ;)