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PuzzleWood

Review: PuzzleWood – Gates of Loki

It seems like Russian trio PuzzleWood embraced the cold climate they have up there, and transcended that coldness through the music on Gates of Loki, their full-length debut record released on November 30th, 2017.

Gates of Loki

The album indeed feels cold, sometimes depressive, yet it’s a release that gives a hope. It is a big and bold step forward for a relatively new and unknown band on the scene. After “Intro (Gates of Loki)”, the album fires on all cylinders with “Remember My Name,” which is an arresting soundscape, creating an overwhelming sense of loss. Nikita Lipatov adds another dimension to the overall sound with his keyboards and synths. It adds volumes to the profoundness, and although the vocals aren’t always discernible (the effects sometimes circumvent clarity), they’re nonetheless gripping. Like with the entire album, “Obsessed” is an exquisite example of how the human condition can be expressed absolutely through layers of luscious timbres.

Gates of Loki becomes a bit more complex and direct with “Tyrant Who Fall in Love” and “To The Void,” which both soar due to piercing guitar work and pained dissonance.

Although the entire album is transcendent, the strongest track is probably “Jerusaelem.” It’s a perfect blend of vocal melodies and complementary arrangements, and the way it evolves from just a simple motif to incorporate several other instruments is exceptionally intense and meaningful.

Gates of Loki is a tour de force of emotion, delicacy, passion, cohesion, and grief-stricken beauty, and listeners will undoubtedly get lost in its sentiments and patterns. Each piece takes its time to develop, using both conventional and orchestral textures, as well as a plethora of vulnerable honesty, to make its statements. The record is a life-affirming experience. Few other albums have ever matched its magnificent combinations.

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PuzzleWood

Interview with PUZZLEWOOD

PuzzleWood from Moscow are a three-piece who back in November released their full-length debut “Gates of Loki.” The band classifies their work as “post-prog,” and I believe that it really is a fitting genre tag for what you can find on the album.

Guitarist and singer Anton Legatov spoke for Progstravaganza about the album.

Alright, first thing is first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?

Could be better, could be worse, much worse actually. So I’m fine.

What can people expect from “Gates of Loki”?

They can expect something unusual. Something they are unaccostomed to. I perfectly understand, that every musician says things like that about his project, but in this case it is the objective truth…At least I think so. Gates of Loki is not the album, that is easy to understand. It is necessary to dive into it, spend your time and pay some attention. But I’m sure, that the result will be satisfying for an attentive listener.

Gates of Loki
What was it like working on the album?

As usual – local branch of Hell of Earth. Writing an album is hard, recording it — much harder. Especially considering the conditions we had during our work. Though, it is pleasant, that from such a disorganised and greviously senseless chaos, something interesting was born.

Are there any touring plans in support to “Gates of Loki”?

Presently there are no such plans, because we don’t have people ready to organise such tour. If someone appears, we’ll gladly go on tour even to the Antarctic. We like giving live shows very much.

While we are on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?

All of them. I sincerely believe, that the musician’s core is to be a traveller, a bard. To wander around the world and play his music and sing his songs. This is what I consider the destiny of those, who chooses the Music to be his craft. Whether we are invited to Europe, USA, Canada or Japan – it doesn’t really matter. We’ll gladly perform anywhere and it’ll be a great honor for us.

Who and what inspires you the most?

Everything. I always say, that we don’t write the music. The Music writes itself and we are doing our best to deliver it the way we percieve its desire to exist. That is why it’s not for us to decide when it comes to us willing to be written.

What other genres of music do you listen to? Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?

It may seem surprising, but I almost don’t listen Prog or Post-Prog. And in general I don’t listen to Rock music much. Often people compare us with Purcupine Tree or TOOL, but I must confess, I haven’t listened to any track of those two bands. Even now. I was on the concert of Steven Wilson once, but he was playing the material from his new album at that time, not the Purcupine’s. I have a lot of different music in my playlist, but mostly I’m old-fashioned. Very rarely I listen to music, written after the 1995. I listen to a lot of ethnic music, lots of jazz, blues of late 70s and middle of 80s. And, of course, the academic music. It is a must.

I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you would like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?

Thanks for your interest and attention to what we do. It is very good to know that politics and international issues don’t create prejudice and barriers for the art and love to music.

“Gates of Loki” is out now; order it from Bandcamp. Follow PuzzleWood on Facebook.