Release DetailsLABEL N/A
RELEASED ON 12/1/2003
The Fallen Shroud
posted on 9/2004 By:
When dealing with an unsigned band, you seldom ever know what's in store for you. With an already inked outfit you may be able to adequately come to some sort of estimation on what to expect, prior to hearing a single note of the material. Feasibly, it may be that you were previously familiar with said act or, perchance, are knowledgeable of the label they are bound and the quality of music, or lack thereof in many cases, that it strives to promote. Now, back to the issue at hand. I dare say the best bet is to go into these kind of scenarios expecting naught, so that the record receives a fair and proper review. Whether it be an incomparable paradigm of perfection or an ineffective pilgrimage of the pointless variety, it is still deserving of an honest analysis.
Not knowing of many bands from Australia, apart from Virgin Black, Pegazus, and a few others, I would have no way anticipated I'd be writing about a black metal quintet from Sydney, and an adept ensemble at that. Upon further inquiry, I discovered that Australia is, in fact, swarming with quite an array of metal hordes. Who woulda guessed, huh? So much for following my own advice and not concluding without prior investigation. The band in question goes by the moniker Intorment Black and has recently unleashed their second self-released outing, The Fallen Shroud, and as confirmed earlier, this is one hellishly grand offering.
From what I comprehend, Intorment Black formed in 1997 and, through the years and several lineup renovations, have progressively shaped their sound into what it is today... Semi-doomy melodic black metal with boundless death metal inclinations and, surprisingly, it all fuses together remarkably, shattering the confines of a singular classification, not to mention, completely dissolving all preconceived notions that I may have initially had in assuming this would be 'just another black metal band'. That statement couldn't be any further removed from the truth.
It's evident that Intorment Black have an abundance of creative influences, from all ends of the spectrum. Musically, it is palpable that the central focus on The Fallen Shroud is melody and not overly technical wankery, granted, the performances are far from amateur. The dual guitar onslaught flows relentlessly and may be reminiscent of the Naglfar approach, to some listeners. At random, the bombast tempos dwindle down and morph into a doomish trance inducing drag in the vein of Darkthrone, but only nest long enough to allow a few short breaths from the profound blackened death metal beating you endure from track to track, and without warning, the savagery storms forth once again.
While The Fallen Shroud is embodied by a heap of fierce riffing, it also hosts a myriad of acoustic intros, outros, and interludes. These dreary passages caress the framework of virtually every song in a fashion rivaling that of an Agalloch creation. In addition to the dismal tones of the acoustic arrangements, each track is adorned with the usage of keys. Not the overbearing, complete orchestra sort that are customary in the more symphonic acts like Dimmu Borgir, but a breed all their own that emerge from time to time and forge a melancholic atmosphere amid the mayhem. Don't expect constant blast beats here, either. The drum work is varied and at times leans towards progressive, giving the sound, as a whole, quite a refreshing departure from the norm.
Vocally, Intorment Black's singer has a voice that is an instrument in itself, not unlike The Black Dahlia Murder, alternating between shrill malicious shrieks and demonic guttural growls flawlessly. There are, however, a handful of cases on The Fallen Shroud where clean vocals are implemented, and not successfully in my opinion. To me, it sounds as though the frontman may lack the ability to deliver an enduring and relevant performance during those few moments, and brings the overall merit of the song down a notch. Fortunately, these mishaps only occur twice on the record.
The cornerstone of The Fallen Shroud is the two part opus, "The Downward Rise", clocking in at roughly fourteen minutes of tempo shifting supremacy. Fitting perfectly right in the middle of the album, this track could easily be considered the best song of the seven you have to choose from. Other stand out moments are "Time Descending", which boasts an exceptional folk metal intro that reminds me of Ensiferum. The opener, "Tearing Down The Temple", begins with a middle eastern influenced riff that steadily swells to an explosion. "Death's Conscription" combines many elements utilized within the melodic death metal sphere and, closing the album, "The Conquering" has an interlude that nearly borders a standard Iced Earth break.
Considering The Fallen Shroud is an independent release, all things fall into place beyond expectation. It's indisputable that these Aussies really poured every ounce of passion and energy they had into its creation. From the diverse genre perplexity in the musicianship and song composition, to the appealing production, which unbelievably surpasses the bulk of black metal albums that are put out with the backing of a decent label. Everything is mixed well and you can hear each instrument clearly, which is a rarity in the saturated scene of 'kvlt' and 'primal' wannabes.
With a supportive record company on their side, Intorment Black could certainly make quite an impact on the metal community, locally and worldwide. Coming into this, I knew absolutely nothing about the band, but it's safe to say, that they now have one more fan within their ranks. I really look forward to any upcoming releases, and wouldn't be at all surprised if they weren't as prevalent, if not more so, than The Fallen Shroud.
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