Ides of Gemini

Constantinople

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Ides of Gemini owes its existence to the 2010 eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano, which famously disrupted air travel smack dab during the busy European heavy metal festival season, and left Black Math Horseman frontwoman Sera Timms and Decibel Magazine contributor/bedroom guitarist J. Bennett with time to kill at the airport. The direct result of this serendipitous union was a well-received four-track EP named The Disruption Writ, which, in turn, led to 2012's long-playing debut, Constantinople: an album that, like that old Icelandic volcano, does not explode so much as sully the skies with pervasive clouds of disorienting gray ash. For you see, Ides of Gemini aren't ones to compose songs for each song's sake, per se, when simply conjoining a few loosely associated ideas into atmospherics sketches will do. And so, the nine minimalist vessels of arcane poetry presented within typically comprise drawn-out vocal lines, stacked atop and set against each other, whilst hovering above deliberate, uncomplicated guitar figures and speckled drums. When they are absorbed in uninterrupted sequence, ideally with headphones upon the crown and a bong in the hand, the overall hypothesis tends to work, but there are precious few fully formed songs ("One to Oneness" about covers it), or even truly revelatory moments (see portions of "The Vessel & the Stake," Resurrectionists," and "Old Believer"), rising up beyond Bennett's pedestrian catalog of moody riffs and dour melodies. Furthermore, Timms is no golden-lunged siren, capable of breaking hearts with a mere whisper, or claiming souls with a single angelic wail (never mind shrinking testicles like a Julie Christmas shriek), so her funereal baritone (not helped by drummer Kelly Johnston's lifeless backing harmonies) can't do much to enliven or bring excitement to the table. All this, at the end of the day, leaves Ides of Gemini sounding like a less-than-fully-realized version of Utah's SubRosa, and Constantinople consigned to a status of intriguing curiosity -- much like the event that spawned it -- only nowhere near as epic, clearly, and therefore prone to disappoint more often than seduce.

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