Wednesday, December 24, 2014
This album is so clean and precise, that while it sounds great right from the get go it sounds like this is a death metal band influenced by Emperor rather than a black metal. Every thing is too perfect and not dissonant enough. The vocals are without a doubt more death metal. The album does slap you up side the head right from the first chug. They even bring out a sax to further push it in the direction of Ihsahn's solo work, which I would also not call black metal.
If you really want to get tangled up in a tongue twist of labels to throw on these guys, then call them progressive blackened death metal. They even have a very hooky almost commercial melody on "Grau Diva". It's heavier than a band like Lamb of God, but it has a strong hook like they would use, the guitar players are pretty fucking ripping and deserve recognition. Clean vocals and sax hide in the layers on many of the songs throughout the album, some times they are realized with greater effectiveness than others.
Behemoth would be another band that comes to mind listening to these guys.On "Der Mude Tod"there is an element to the clean vocal melody that reminds me of Devin Townsend. The song cross a weird bridge between Emperor and Sigh, with touches of one of Mike Patton's projects. They do use a sample from the Naked Lunch movie in one innovative interlude that actual transcends being filler and makes for a decent song. They do fall into a Myspace metal Slipknot type break down in the song that follows. They are pretty effective with this side of cheese. This flirtation with nu metal, somehow works with the fact they are big dumb and fun, unapologetic metal without any hipster aspirations.
This keeps getting bigger and crazier. The Townsend thing continues to flourish, along with some pretty fucking incredible guitar playing. I can see my girl friend liking this as it's musical enough for her to smooth over the abrasive elements.The dramatics get raised to a fever pitch as the vocals chanting about the desert sound like they are from a puppet show from hell. These guys chops are often indulged , but never in question, they have one of the best keyboardists in metal. "Funereal Blues" has some almost Geddy Lee like vocals that are belted out a little more along the lines of something Pain of Salvation might do , before blasting in death metal.
There is more of a hefty Mastodon feel to the closing epic "Palindrome".The vocals take on a throaty belt that is close enough to a growl for it to easily transition into one, as this album progresses it gets harder to see why any one would refer to this as black anything. It gradually takes on more of a rock n roll ascetic. The burlier more straight forward attack isn't best for what these guys have shown they are best suited for . There is a cool dark and creepy melodic part in the middle of this song.
The exaggerated and overindulgent manner they throw the songs in your face doesn't make this the most high brow piece of metal out there, in fact they might just have done Mastodon better than Mastodon did themselves this year, so take that for what you will, if you want more fun and less thought in your metal then this album is worth your time. I'll Give it a 9