behind closed doors (deliberately without caps?) is an instrumental trio from Germany, Denmark and of course the Netherlands (we wouldn’t review it otherwise :D). They released their latest album caged in helices on October 28th. Their trio of bass, drum and guitars are enriched on this album by a classical string quartet and a few synth lines. behind closed doors plays instrumental music: they want the listener to be able to create their own story to the tracks, without obstructing it with words. They basically want the listener to emerge themselves in their music, and with the massive walls of sound they bring, that’s an easy thing to do.
About this album
The tracks for caged in helices are written by Christoph, but Yuma and Fred each put their personal touch to the tracks as well. It has been in the works for a while, since the songs were composed over 2018 and 2019. Old movies are listed as one of the sources of inspiration for Christoph, and without knowing this, a movie soundtrack is what this album reminded me off when I first heard it. Specially the tracks with the string quartet have that compelling sound that takes you into a weird and dark dream. In their blog, Christoph describes: “I believe there are artworks in the world that can penetrate someone’s soul instantly. In such a case, one is captivated by that work and feels a deep connection and understanding, also turmoil and maybe even horror. One can also not escape, you can’t ‘defend’ yourself from that work of art. It lingers. Not an easy task to describe the emotional impact of art with language, but this is my attempt to put into words what it’s like for me to listen to Gloria Coates’ music.” – Christoph”. And while he is talking about Gloria Coates, this description actually fits behind closed doors’ music as well.
The album opens with anti will. If you go into this album blank, you probably won’t know what to make of the string intro, which takes a little over one and a half minute. This exactly the kind of compelling music that takes this album into the movie soundtrack realm, and even kind of reminded me of Ludovico Einaudi in the sense that he also writes this kind of emotional, compelling music. When the band enters the stage though, it takes a turn into progressive djenty land: hard, polyrhytmic, low and very, very tight. The basslines are reminiscend of Tool (in the best way possible), but think Haken and Periphery for a range of whom to compare behind closed doors to.
kaleidoscope antlers has a bit of folky feel to it, because of the string lines in the main riff. It’s a darker and harder track than the previous one, but once again has a open, atmospheric break. At some point it even touches the rims of the black metal realm. There is a really nice balance between the heaviness and breaks for the listener to regain their thoughts. I also love the fact that the bass once again takes a lead role during that break: each instrument gets exactly the space it deserves. That’s another great point for this album: even with all the different layers, each instrument is very well defined and nothing gets lost in the mix.
the essence of doubt is probably my favorite track of this album, and after a weird synthy guitar intro, takes us into arabic spheres. Again this track gives you Tool vibes with a rhytmic part in the middle of the song, only to reel it back in with some djenty riffs quickly after. black pyramid is with 10.34 the longest track of the album, but that’s also because there’s a 2 minute atmospheric intro to the track. This song is probably the heaviest song of the album, but is broken up nicely by the mellow break in the middle. Again, a place for the bass to shine with a little Tool inspired solo riffing. The gem of this track is the second break, a post-metal atmospheric (with again, some bass) and the djent part that follow right after.
per aspera ad astra brings back the strings to the album, and would be the most movie soundtrack of them all, if it weren’t for the heavy riffs straight away. The open guitar chords kinda remind me of a level in Diablo II, and it has that darkness to it. That’s the great thing about this being instrumental: I can create my own story to the tracks. And since this reminds me of a great game, I can fully see myself playing something similar with this in the background for maybe a bossfight or something. Sadly for me in this scenario, even though I probably slay the boss judging from the sound, afterwards I either die or someone else dies, since this tracks ends with an atmospheric outtro (even though it returns to the mainriff in the end).
ubiquitous is a short intermezzo, and with 2.14 of ‘sound’ (I have no better way to describe it) it could also have been either an outtro or an intro to another track.
in all but name is the final track and the most straightforward metal track of the album. Could be usefull as an introductory track into the music behind closed doors bring. Except for the strings it has all the other elements of their other tracks. Djenty riffs, mellow break, parts where bass is front and center, rhytmic parts. It is my least favorite track however, because it’s more straightforward and maybe a little more mainstream. Not a bad track, but in comparison to the rest maybe less interesting.
The hero to this album is definately the lead violin and the string quartet: the eerie layer they add fits these tracks so well that I wish more band would add actual strings (instead of synth strings) to their music. Specially in per aspera ad adstra they really add something new and exciting to the song. I hope these guys will continue to explore the use of strings in their music and next album will paint some more details with the added strings on even more tracks. caged in helices is an exciting album, but not for the ‘average’ metalhead. You need to like the weirdness and polyrhytmic parts to really enjoy this. This album is best enjoyed with your eyes closed, fully emerging yourself in the tracks.
- the anti will
- kaleidoscope antlers
- the essence of doubt
- black pyramid
- per aspera ad astra, but why and for what
- in all but name