Release DetailsLABEL ICorp America
RELEASED ON 12/1/2004
posted on 12/2004 By:
Now here is a band that has come a long way. Requiem Aeternam began in the mid 90’s down in Montevideo, Uruguay. Initially composed of main man José Romero, the two Martin’s (López and Méndez) of Opeth fame, and another guitarist, all of whom left the band before recording an actual release. José picked up another bassist and drummer for the 1998’s Eternally Dying, which led to some South American tours. Time passed, and then in 2002, José relocated to New York City, where he picked up another bassist and recruited Alex Hernandéz (ex-Immolation) to drum for this full-length release, Philosopher.
The end result is one of the more interesting albums I’ve heard this year. Their sound has progressed from a sort of acoustic-laced, melodic black metal, to a weird amalgamation of progressive death/black metal, dark acoustic (think Agalloch), and doom, all topped off with a bizarre vocal performance by José. In fact, the band actually bears more resemblance to Opeth now, than on their earlier work. But anyway, about those vocals…when he is screaming he sounds like a man scared to death. When he sings clean, he’s a dead ringer for Serj of System of a Down - a nasal, droning voice that many of you will be turned off by, but that I find passable, even if somewhat out-of-place. Also, the lyrics switch off between Spanish and English.
A good chunk of the album consists of clean and acoustic parts, although when they choose to get heavy, they do so in a way that magnifies the intensity of the actual music. This can be heard on “Wisdom”, where very solid acoustic work builds to a dire crescendo, that again, is very Opeth-like. Requiem Aeternam also love to harmonize higher-pitched guitar lines, in solos, and in despairing leads. “Antichrist” is as close to a shred track as you’ll hear on this album, with many different styles of playing on display. The final track, aptly titled “Track 8” brings Philosopher to a proper close. Competent, mid-paced death metal mixes with doomy leads, which briefly yield to calmer acoustic interludes, and back and forth for a full seven minutes.
While this album is not on the level of the works by the other bands referenced, it is strangely compelling. Theirs is a sound I’ve never really heard attempted, in bringing different styles of metal together with José’s atypical vocal stylings. Definitely download “Track 8” off of their site and then decide for yourself if this is for you.
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