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Matthias Sturm

Blood and Thunder

(Fou de Gis; US: 17 Jan 2012; UK: Import)

Choosing to name his record after one of the most critically revered metal albums of the last decade (Mastadon’s 2006 LP Blood and Thunder) didn’t have to be a bold choice for Matthias Sturm. After all, there only so many things one can name an album. But after a listen to this brief album, one might lament for Mastadon’s take on the title, despite the fact that it’s in an entirely different genre. Blood and Thunder as done here is pleasant enough. It could make nice music for a scenic country drive or a picnic in a wind-swept field of freshly cut grass. Even though in those moments the album would be complementary to the scenery, it’d still be as inoffensive as it is during a casual listen. The album’s one saving grace could have been its diversity; there’s folk (the title track), strange detours into French (“L’Heure”), and indie that sounds ready to be the ending credits music to the next Wes Anderson movie (“Homesick”). Yet these individual moments never get close to making up a memorable whole, and as a result the album is at best elevator music for those with an indie folk sensibility and at worst something one is only likely to give a passing listen.

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Brice Ezell is the Assistant Editor of PopMatters, where he also reviews music, film, and books, which he has done since 2011. He also is the creator of PopMatters' Notes on Celluloid column, which covers the world of film music. His writing also appears in Sea of Tranquility and Glide Magazine (formerly Hidden Track). His short story, "Belle de Jour", was published in 67 Press' inaugural publication The Salmagundi: An Anthology. You can follow his attempts at wit on Twitter and Tumblr if you're so inclined. He lives in Chicago.


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