The Invalid

1. Fearless
2. Disappear In You
3. Silent Sin
4. Philistine
5. Pretend
6. Fracture
7. Dead To The World
8. Phantom Pain
9. Invalid
10. Comatose

June Park (Vocals & programming)
Dan Durakovic (Guitars & programming)
Sammy J. Watson (Drums)
Mark Valencia (Bass)



Sylvia Massy (Producer/engineer)

Released 18/3-2011
Reviewed 20/3-2011

nightmare records

The beginning of 'The Invalid' sounds just like a tune from one of my absolute favorite games, called Final Fantasy 7, by doing some sort of anxiety-sounding keyboard thing. This ends up in the introducing song Fearless which set the standard high with the Dream Theater-smelling riffs and wide spectra on the vocalist June Park, who does anything from whisper to do long, stretched and half crazy screams. And that's how the Los Angeles based Clandestine begins their debut album.

However, the handbrake turn is made straight away as the second song starts with a demonical roar from a bottomless pit made by the tiny South Korean related vocalist. The keyboard lines twirls around the music like vined creepers and the guitars give the album life. Life that the band do all kind of things with - turns you didn't expect and choises you couldn't see coming. They go from traditional rock to a completely banged out metal in a couple of seconds.I really feel we'll offered the whole smorgosbord that Clandestine have with 'The Invalid' and it's served on a silver plate with a fantasticly good and stunning production. The sound hits you like a gong hit by Nepali monk out for revenge on the Chinese government. And besides this, the cover is amazing! Absoluteley brilliant, probably the best looking cover I've ever seen. The band also have a sort of rock stars look, especially the rock styled front woman, and they have a good looking logo.

Sureley, everything looks and seem good with Clandestine, but it doesn't take long to notice a pretty big issue with the album. Not counting the last song, called Comatose, this album doesn't have a single song that really flotes my boat. The songs come and go like customers at a hore house and the music sounds pretty much like music usually do, but the vocals tend to always end up in incosequential screaming. Instrumentally they sound pretty much as normal music, but with a lot of odd things thrown in at places where you wouldn't expect them to be. Tempo change seems to be the bands motto since they doesn't play a single song on this album in a coherent flow. The already menthioned Comatose seems to be a song where they've put some sort of a leash on them selves and not just mix all of their influences and ideas in a big bowl from which they then randomly draws what they should put where. The more I listen to this album, the bigger this issue gets for me, it's not like it usually are when hearing progressive or "strange" music, that it starts to come to terms once you hear it a few times. It might just be me who doesn't get the point. That's obviously something that could be because Clandestine seems to be such a band that appeal a very specific kind of listeners. If you don't feel they've carwed your heart out almost immidietly, they probably never will.

For being an album with so much quality it's hard for me to see why I don't see more than a shiny surface with Clandestine on this album. The songs feels too hollow and impersonal, the vocals are to abstract and all though they stretch through a wide range spectra they come out too much as something that is just there. The music is very good but neither that succeed to reach any deeper than the surface. It's impressing, in a way with quite the technical dress up, but I just don't feel it's trying to express something. There is no emotion in the music that speaks to me, mostly it's just music and I can't see it adress either me or you or anyone else, it just goes around talking to itself, like one of those crazy people you see on the streets daily all messed up. And that actually is the biggest and probably only problem with this album. Its not written with heart and soul, it's written with brains and it doesn't matter how impressing such an album can be. Without emoitons it will never become your lover.

It starts good and ends great, but in between that there are some work for Clandestine to do. They impress technically and sound-wise and on those things, but what they've missed is to give the songs a purpose and reason for being there and sounding like they do. Because at least me can't answer the simple questions what is the purpose of the songs? What are they trying to say? Why do they sound like they do? And I bet the band can't answer all of those questions either. However, I don't doubt there will be a group of people that like this album just the way it is. The same kind of people that loves to paus movies to read what's written on things in the background of the scene or to count how many times a color appears in the movie. With some more time and experience however, they will get their fingers around the current issues and I see this album as the start of something really, really good that just haven't reached the fullest potential yet.

The appearance they have. The looks too. And the production. As well as the know-hows. What's still missing is the emotional stuff. And whether they reach this by staring to sing about flowers or buy all who buys the album a beer - well that's for them to decide. What 'The Invalid' is are something beautiful that has become emotionally crippled. Like a lively model that's become an invalid.

Before I leave you with some sort of clever remark I just want to say that even though Clandestine may lack something that speaks to you on a deeper level, this is an album that promise a lot for the future. This time, however, they end up in the hospital bed at St. Marys hospital in ward 78C by the east end, tucked in with white beddings and surrounded by strange machines that beeps and twinkle and keeps you alive. Yes, that's exactly how Clandestine sounds. Like a hospital. Sterile and impersonal, yet very impressive.


Label - Nightmare/Connecting Music
Three similar bands - Lacuna Coil/The Birthday Massacre/Dream Theater
: Caj Källmalm