Tarantula A.D.
"Book of Sand"

(Kemado Records 2005)Tarantula A.D. - Book of Sand

Since their 2004 debut EP, Tarantula A.D. certainly have evolved. With a new moniker (back then it was merely Tarantula), Tarantula A.D. are full of the fighting spirit on their first full length release, "Book Of Sand." Carried by their generally instrumental sound, "Book Of Sand" is dramatic, rich and bold with sinister guitar riffs bordering on drone metal while strings and piano are added to create a lush soundscape that can go from a light classical influence to ivory-pounding hard rock in seconds.

Divided into chapters of sorts, "Book Of Sand" pounds and crashes on "The Century Trilogy I: Conquest" as it cautiously builds to a memorably smooth and fluid melody. "Who Took Berlin (Part I)" gradually oscillates between hard and soft with instruments squealing in precision, guitar and cello moaning their intense gloom before its mate, "Who Took Berlin (Part II)," pulses with xylophone as a dramatic piano-led movement grows and takes shape.

Strings swoon and swirl on the album's second movement, "The Century Trilogy II: Empire," before jagged guitar riffs, unexpectedly, crash furiously. Soft, gentle vocals lead the slow and reserved "Sealake" and birds chirp almost mockingly on the light piano ballad "Prelude To The Fall." Piano again leads on the introspective "The Lost Waltz" while "Palo Borracho" changes the tone with a samba-like rhythm that morphs into a wailing electric number. Shrill vocalizing brings the soft and rhythmic "Book Of Sand" full circle with "The Century Trilogy III: The Fall."

Like a good book, Tarantula A.D. do not rush things as they continually crescendo and decrescendo with their immense instrumental force, keeping the listener involved. While Tarantula A.D.'s initial EP "Tarantula" was at times a diamond in the rough, "Book Of Sand" is a thoughtfully shined gem with feeling and emotion.

A-

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