Our Ceasing Voice
Free Like Tonight – Limited Vinyl // CD // DD
Self Released: August 25, 2017
Reviewed by Andy “Dinger” Beresky
Austrian Ambient / Alt. Rockers Our Ceasing Voice have been at it awhile, though this is my first encounter with them. Folks are always surprised when I haven’t heard of this band or that band, especially if it’s something that is well within the realm of what I usually find myself listening to. The fact of the matter is just that there’s a whole slew of music out there, and there’s simply no way for me to keep up with it all. Nearly everyone these days is in a band, or two, or three, or five. With that kind of saturation, it’s easy for even really good bands to slip through the cracks. That’s the case with Our Ceasing Voice, and I’m honestly surprised that these cats don’t have a bit more exposure. Their sound is both unique and accessible, though perhaps the vocals are a bit of an acquired taste. Also, Free Like Tonight was only released about a month ago, so this album hasn’t really had enough time to get out there and reach a wider audience. In truth, I’m not sure how their back catalog compares to their latest, so this album is my only point of reference.
When talking about this album, I think that it’s important to write about the vocals first and foremost, as they’re the center point; they’re what stands out and drives the music. It’s the kind of style that’s going to be polarizing: a deep and tortured baritone, goth-inspired and pain-strickenly emotional. For me personally, they work and totally make the album, and I can see how others may be turned off by them, especially as they veer towards the melodramatic more often than not. Still, vocalist Dominik Dorfler delivers his poetic lyrics with both poise and power.
The songs themselves are fairly simple in structure and instrumentation. They’re focused on texture and atmosphere rather than any form of musical pyrotechnics – layers of reverberated piano, subtle guitar parts echoed for emphasis, and airy washes of synthesizers float in and out of the mix, laying a backdrop for the vocals, and minimalist drums form the bedrock and foundation underneath. It’s tough for me to tell if there’s an actual bass guitar playing, or if the low end is simply carried by the guitars and synths; if there is bass, once again, it’s subtle. There’s no bassist credited on the album, so there very well may not be one.
Now, as much as I like this album, it’s not without faults, like most albums. While I can appreciate the shifts in dynamics that break up monotony within the songs themselves, on a whole, there’s not a lot of diversity within the album. Every song is extremely similar, and the tempos are all in the same ballpark. There’s not a whole lot to differentiate them, and perhaps that’s why these guys have kept a relatively low profile. This isn’t a deal breaker for me, and it shows a clear area for growth. Moving forward, if they incorporated something different every third song or so, or even used some interludes to break things up a bit, I think that they could have a lot of success with future albums. Their basic formula is solid – they just need a little bit of tweaking so that their albums really stand out and don’t start to feel tedious or repetitious halfway through.
I can see fans of ambient music, post-rock and goth rock getting into Our Ceasing Voice. The vocals make their music fairly unique without being wildly experimental, and what they do, they do extremely well. As I’ve noted above, I’m more concerned with what they don’t do. Namely, they do need to fix things up a bit. It’s tough for me to even identify a standout track because….well, they’re all pretty good, and they’re all pretty similar.
A band like this has all kinds of options – add some more experimental elements and really abstract sounds, rev up the tempos for a tune or two, add some vocal harmonies, get some guest musicians. Hell, even add some more traditional rock elements like a fitting guitar solo, adding more hooks in the vocals and instrumentation, or just some bridges. Getting a bassist may help with this by beefing up the rhythms and offering opportunities for interplay between the bass and drums. Like I’ve stated over and over – Our Ceasing Voice have developed a unique sound, and they’ve got a ton of potential. If they can carry that approach over to the treatment of individual songs, so that each song on an album stands as its own individual statement, then I think they’ll really start to go places.