I did not expect this. I was lured by the promise of Doom Metal, a genre I'm having a recent love-in with. What I got was a mix of blackened doom coupled with the vocals of a generic symphonic metal outfit. I have a passionate dislike of operatic vocals in metal and, while that includes vocalists of both sexes, it tends to be more of a female issue. I'm not going to let this devolve into gender politics though. Ultimately, be it Messiah Marcolin or whoever is singing for Nightwish this year, I instantly recoil whenever I hear wailing.
The combination of mid-paced Black Metal (I'm not sure I can really call it Doom), with its period production values with the operatic vocals of Anette Uvaas Guldbrandsen is quite jarring. Maybe I'm used to avoiding songs by Nightwish et al, but there's an expectation when hearing a voice like that for the production to be so over the top that Mutt Lange would blush. To hear it paired with what sounds like 90s-era Satyricon is just weird. The songs are all very one-dimensional and, as a consequence, are largely indistinguishable from each other. This wouldn't be so much of a problem if the music was compelling. But it isn't; it becomes a drone, without the creativity or focus on interesting riffs that the genre commands. I hesitate to accuse it of being boring - the vocals ensure you're never prone to falling asleep - but I do wonder what Chad Davis had in his head when composing the music, or what Anette felt when she heard the instrumental tracks for the first time.
Maybe I'm not the target audience for this material. Perhaps this will entice some of you out there, hungry for under-produced mid-paced black metal with the vocals of Floor Jansen (honestly, I don't know if that's an apt comparison). I'm honestly at a loss as to whether this is a failed experiment, or the genesis of a brilliant new genre. I'm going to err on the side of caution and suggest this is the sound of a band trying to find their feet.
Review by Steve Cowan
25th January 2019
1) Requiem... (Intro)
2) The Brightest Light
3) Liti Kjersti
4) Head of a Traitor
5) One Night of Cruelty
6) Embrace the Dark
7) Evig Hvile / Libera Me (Outro)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"The songs are all very one-dimensional and, as a consequence, are largely indistinguishable from each other. This wouldn't be so much of a problem if the music was compelling. But it isn't; it becomes a drone, without the creativity or focus on interesting riffs that the genre commands."