Monday, December 18, 2023

Full Length Review: Kristopher Battilana "The Raven and The Robot 2" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Artist: Kristopher Battilana
Location: Geraldton
Country: Western Australia
Genre: Alternative, rock, metal, goth
Full length: The Raven and The Robot 2
Format: Digital
Label: Independent
Release date: August 16, 2023
When it came out in October 2022 “The Raven and the Robot” was an ambitious project by which Kristopher Battilana expressed his ideas through visuals as well as music. When I reviewed his collection of singles “Introspective 1” earlier this year I noted the variety of ideas brought into it. I imagined they would undertake a process of maturity, and this is happening with his new full length.
Battilana referred to “The Raven and the Robot” as a digital storybook with the songs serving as a soundtrack to his character depictions and descriptions of the events taking place, complete with lyrics and a fictional account. Battilana used "AI" generated art to express the story visually while keeping it organically rooted through the written word. A work that was brought to life by stimulating all of your imagination, it has been well received by reviewers who gave it a fair chance and showed potential for expansion into unexplored modes of expression, perhaps in audiobook or movie form of some kind.
Battilana channels ethereal/medieval/brutal death songwriting for his other band Abysmal Domination toward moving his project into something that sounds as if it originated from the otherworldly universe he created on “The Raven and the Robot” and “The Raven and The Robot 2”, an expansion on told on his debut. That eclectic metal remains a major part of Battilana’s writing on the second part of what’s becoming an epic, with more prominent constituents of industrial, early punk and gothic rock, again calling to mind David Bowie, Andrew Eldritch of Sisters of Mercy and Peter Murphy of Bauhaus.
The production is less gritty on this album, paying closer attention to mechanized and computerized themes to enhance the contrast between man and machine. The biggest difference between Battilana and musicians who draw upon keyboard and synth-driven influences is, while a lot of it is presented with a cold lifelessness projecting lack of vitality to make its point about the misuse of technology, Battilana makes sure to inject humanity into that rampant technology. A feeling derived of earthborn mortality remains invariably unimpaired through all the contrasting sounds, as if signifying the importance of adhering to what makes us flesh and blood creatures, not automatons with chips in our brains.
At Battilana's Youtube is a brief teaser for “Did I Forget?” which offers the barest taste of the storyline. The narrative and the landscape shown is enough to make you want to see more. –Dave Wolff

Kristopher Battilana: Vocals, all instruments

Track list:
1. Did I Forget?
2. Overload
3. Nowhere to Hide
4. The Keeper of Ravens
5. From the Dirt
6. Aura
7. The Last 8 Minutes
8. Human
9. Afterglow

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