Don't Go Where I Can't Follow

1. Roads
2. Stitches
3. Up On The Roof
4. The Most Important Fight
5. The Mender
6. Blue Knell
7. Haven
8. Hold My Breath
9. Before I Fall
10. Another Day
11. Left Alone

Malene Markussen (Vocals & piano)
Odd Henning (Guitars, bass & synths)

Demo 2008 (EP 2008)
Primrose Path (EP 2009)
Quietude (EP 2010)

Bjorn Tore Erlendsen (Drums)
Jørn-Arild Grefsrud (synth & electric upright bass)

Recorded & mixed by Jørn-Arild Grefsrud
Recorded At – Tuft Studio, Strand Studio & Odd Henning's Living Room

Released 2013-01-18
Reviewed 2013-02-22


I'll point out the exact moment where this album all goes wrong for Acelsia. It's exactly 1.01 in to the first song on the album. Malene Markussen say something like "can it change" before the band makes a sort burst with all instruments in a short instrumental crescendo at once. Thhat's where it fails, and as if to really twist the knife they've successfully stabbed in the back of the album they make another such burst before the song is over.

This is the debut album of Norwegian Acelsia and before releasing 'Don't Go Where I Can't Follow' on their own Quietude Productions they've release three demo EPs (the last also called 'Quietude'). But it's not a completely untalented and incompetent band we're talking about here and 'Don't Go Where I Can't Follow' is not turning in to something as unwanted as a plague or unattractive as toothless hillbilly just a minute in to their album but they are a band that doesn't seems to know their limits for what they're capable of doing and have the capacity to do. I'll get back to what I mean exactly, but first I'll explain what's good on 'Don't Go Where I Can't Follow' - because there's plenty of good as well.

I think it's pretty apparent immediately that Acelsia has a really competent vocalist in Malene Markussen and even though she does most of her vocals in a really high pitch it's not something you'll only fancy if you're obsessively in to soprano vocals because it sounds really good when Malene does it. Her voice is surprisingly comfortable to rest your ears on and even though she could have had more help from the production side I think her vocals leaves you with nothing but good feeling throughout the entire album.

I also like the instrumental performance of the band, Acelsia them selves are saying they've tried to keep things fresh and spontaneous by not putting too much time planning the recordings but I feel that at least the song writing has been very planned - even if the recordings weren't. I feel the music is clever and well thought through without taking it so far that it becomes complicated. If they didn't take their time with the material they had stroke of luck on this album getting it this good. I also think the band does a good job playing their instruments, not in a way that you wow from how virtuosic they appear but in a minimalistic way. The music is very repressed when it comes to what they use and not at all that kind of "look at me" music some musicians feel they have to do to show how great they are and where most of the music is just unnecessary. Acelsia sieve out the good stuff and this gives the music mostly nice melodies that are both moody and beautiful in an often good combination with Malenes emotional voice. However, there are a few problems too.

For starters we have the production that leaves some to wish for. I think this is a huge let down because there's so much good on this album that gets lost in the poor sound and the insufficient mixing. Instead of being the big advantages of the album many of the bands great ideas becomes its biggest drawbacks as neither sound or mixing does them justice. One example of this is what happens 1.01 in to the first song of the album because as they burst in to this intense instrumental passage the sound just can't handle this massive force of instruments and the same problem recurs a couple of times later on in the album. The production also restrain the album from really getting in to you, or at least me, and even though I find parts and songs that gets to me they are not able to abduct me and do whatever they want to me as those really great albums do. It's because that last bite is missing in the sound and also to some extent because the instruments are mixed a bit too low in contrast to the vocals. Don't get me wrong, the vocals are good but too dominating - I'd like to get more interplay between vocals and music instead of that solo show it tends to be at the moment where the great instrumental performance isn't always heard.

My last complain is on the final track, called Left Alone. This really wasn't the most amusing way to spend four minutes but that really was more due to the technical issues in that particular song that made all kinds of cracking and sparkling noises all over the song. The song that can be heard between these sounds promising, but it's not like you want to play it because of all the disturbance. Fix that and I think it's a killer track to end the album with!

As a whole I think this is a good album, really good even at times, and never really bad (except for the noise in Left Alone of course). Unfortunately I think it's too much of the good ideas that disappears in an insufficient production and sometimes also that they aren't good enough on all the things they do. Today the band are a duo and as far as I can understand they are trying to change that and make it in to a band - maybe when they become a band and have specialized musicians for every instruments they can do some of the advanced stuff as good as is necessary. As it's made, my favourite tracks on 'Don't Go Where I Can't Follow' are The Most Important Flight and hold My Breath which minimize the shortcomings best and that really leaves you yearning for more!

'Don't Go Where I Can't Follow' is an absolutely approved album and sometimes even really good but I leave the album with a bit too much feeling of "it could have been so great… if only" to really be satisfied. But I it's too much good things on this album to not have great things to come for this band as soon as they fix the small issues with it. The competence is definitely there!



Label: Quietude Productions/Connecting Music
Three similar bands: Flowing Tears/Evanescence/Heartwork
Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm

läs på svenska