Sluka - Introversions
Gothrock Christopher Sluka has been working in the medium of some form of rock for many years, and his new album, Introversions, seems to be lauded by many critics as a visionary piece of work that crosses the line between goth rock and lyrical performance art. Unfortunately, this reviewer is not seeing it. While the instrumental work, composition and production on Sluka’s tenth album is clean and involves good musicality, the sound and feeling of Introversions adds up to so much pompous prog rock.

The first thing that’s vexing on Introversions is, of course, that the “gothic” part of the music is seriously lacking, even in the face of early goth rock. Just because an artist names a song “Gothic Cavalier” and has some jingling gothic-sounding synths in one or two songs, he’s not within his rights, really, to call his music “gothic rock”. To drive that point home, isn’t gothrock supposed to be at least a little brooding and macabre? Most of the melodies in the album’s requisite songs are written in major keys, and Sluka’s guitar – although very well-played – sounds better suited to 80s rock ballads.

If this weren’t enough, in the videos which have been released thus far (Sluka is doing a video for every song on the album and releasing them as a Blu-ray compilation), all the band members are smiling their faces off while shots of studio or performance footage alternate with things like blue skies, Sluka’s flowing, Bolton-esque hair and, in the case of “Gothic Cavalier”, weather?



The second issue here is the list of groups Sluka names as either influences or things he sounds like: Bowie is actually a legitimate one. His voice in “Gothic Cavalier” and other tracks is very Bowie-esque, and he has a great way of harmonizing with himself. Other bands like The Killers, Coldplay and Sigur Ros? Absolutely not. Just because you have a synthed organ in a song doesn’t make you Chris bloody Martin, ok? And by the way, Coldplay aren’t gothrock either.




Finally, Sluka seems to be, for lack of a better term, pretty up himself. Is there talent here? Yes. Is it possible that Sluka has earned the international cult following he claims to have earned? Absolutely. There are lots of fans of prog rock and adult contempo who would definitely appreciate his skill. That said, every single line of his bio pretty much lauds and praises every second of this guy’s own life. The aggrandizement of every minute detail is exhausting. “Away from the arts, Christopher is an avid distance runner. And when he doesn’t have his feet on terra firma, Christopher is an accomplished aircraft pilot (Jet Type rated) who is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Bruce Dickinson, the legendary aviator who fronts the world’s biggest heavy rock act, Iron Maiden.” By the way, this is the only paragraph in said bio which mentions any person with whom Sluka has worked or who he admires.


This leads to the most egregious pomposity: the fact that even though his videos feature at least three other musicians in both studio and performance scenes, his website and bio clearly state that all instruments are played by, you guessed it: the incomparable Christopher Sluka. The musicians in the videos look very well accomplished, so whether Sluka wrote the parts for each instrument and played them all on the album or not, a nod to the people he performs with would be nice.



I’m giving this album reasonably high marks despite the fact that it’s clearly not a favorite stylistically and also despite the fact that Sluka is not the rock god he thinks he is and in fact sounds like a real narcissistic piece of work with a lukewarm career at best. The guy irks me, what can I say? That said, Introversions (gah, even the name is annoying) is a technically well-done album of progressive rock mixed with a smidgen of classic rock, so if you’re into that sort of thing check out the videos and the album at the links above. 





4
Brutal Resonance

Sluka - Introversions

7.0
"Good"
Released off label 2016
Christopher Sluka has been working in the medium of some form of rock for many years, and his new album, Introversions, seems to be lauded by many critics as a visionary piece of work that crosses the line between goth rock and lyrical performance art. Unfortunately, this reviewer is not seeing it. While the instrumental work, composition and production on Sluka’s tenth album is clean and involves good musicality, the sound and feeling of Introversions adds up to so much pompous prog rock.

The first thing that’s vexing on Introversions is, of course, that the “gothic” part of the music is seriously lacking, even in the face of early goth rock. Just because an artist names a song “Gothic Cavalier” and has some jingling gothic-sounding synths in one or two songs, he’s not within his rights, really, to call his music “gothic rock”. To drive that point home, isn’t gothrock supposed to be at least a little brooding and macabre? Most of the melodies in the album’s requisite songs are written in major keys, and Sluka’s guitar – although very well-played – sounds better suited to 80s rock ballads.

If this weren’t enough, in the videos which have been released thus far (Sluka is doing a video for every song on the album and releasing them as a Blu-ray compilation), all the band members are smiling their faces off while shots of studio or performance footage alternate with things like blue skies, Sluka’s flowing, Bolton-esque hair and, in the case of “Gothic Cavalier”, weather?



The second issue here is the list of groups Sluka names as either influences or things he sounds like: Bowie is actually a legitimate one. His voice in “Gothic Cavalier” and other tracks is very Bowie-esque, and he has a great way of harmonizing with himself. Other bands like The Killers, Coldplay and Sigur Ros? Absolutely not. Just because you have a synthed organ in a song doesn’t make you Chris bloody Martin, ok? And by the way, Coldplay aren’t gothrock either.




Finally, Sluka seems to be, for lack of a better term, pretty up himself. Is there talent here? Yes. Is it possible that Sluka has earned the international cult following he claims to have earned? Absolutely. There are lots of fans of prog rock and adult contempo who would definitely appreciate his skill. That said, every single line of his bio pretty much lauds and praises every second of this guy’s own life. The aggrandizement of every minute detail is exhausting. “Away from the arts, Christopher is an avid distance runner. And when he doesn’t have his feet on terra firma, Christopher is an accomplished aircraft pilot (Jet Type rated) who is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Bruce Dickinson, the legendary aviator who fronts the world’s biggest heavy rock act, Iron Maiden.” By the way, this is the only paragraph in said bio which mentions any person with whom Sluka has worked or who he admires.


This leads to the most egregious pomposity: the fact that even though his videos feature at least three other musicians in both studio and performance scenes, his website and bio clearly state that all instruments are played by, you guessed it: the incomparable Christopher Sluka. The musicians in the videos look very well accomplished, so whether Sluka wrote the parts for each instrument and played them all on the album or not, a nod to the people he performs with would be nice.



I’m giving this album reasonably high marks despite the fact that it’s clearly not a favorite stylistically and also despite the fact that Sluka is not the rock god he thinks he is and in fact sounds like a real narcissistic piece of work with a lukewarm career at best. The guy irks me, what can I say? That said, Introversions (gah, even the name is annoying) is a technically well-done album of progressive rock mixed with a smidgen of classic rock, so if you’re into that sort of thing check out the videos and the album at the links above. 





Oct 28 2016

Off label

Official relesae released by the artist themselves without the backing of a label.

Layla Marino

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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