Atmospheric and heavy, Strength And Sanity is a one-man band creating lush post-metal. Justin Almquist creates brooding, dark textures intermixing prog, jazz, and metal throughout his self-titled disc. The standouts are the lengthier tracks, one occurring at the midpoint and the other at the end of the record. The former, “Lines, Unfolded, Began Forward,” is a slow burn using a surprisingly menacing sense of dynamics and rhythm to build tension and then resolving into a soft, plucked acoustic guitar figure. Similarly, the latter, “Other Paths,” brings Almquist’s myriad of ideas together in a coherent, self-contained epic.
The record can get tedious with an over-reliance on canned strings and drums. Though the programming quality is still impressive, the strings come across as sappy at points, while the drums lack the thrill that one hears from a live recording. Overall, it’s pretty accomplished for a solo project, but the record could be a little tighter, and some moments are more ponderous than necessary. In the end, the two lengthy tracks show a feel for nuance and texture that resonates.
this album rocks. i think the reviewer is mistaken when it comes to moments being more ponderous than necessary… the weight of this album is the defining characteristic and i wish it was more ponderous. i find myself listening to this album more and more as 2010 progresses. bet you will too.
This album helps me reach further into myself while doing creative projects. I find access to places long hidden from view. On the flip side, I can listen in the car and lose myself. This is beyond a one man band. This is a profound piece of work that merits hearing again and again.
This album gets an A for many reasons but primairly because of the complicated drum programing and sheer creativity involved in the composition as a whole. Even though there a seperate tracks I really feel this body of music needs to be experienced as a whole to truly appreciate the artist’s vast depth of vision.