Release DetailsLABEL Napalm Records
RELEASED ON 2/22/2005
posted on 2/2005 By:
More heavily accented, heavily orchestrated and heavily clichéd Goth metal from Europe. This time courtesy of Austria’s Darkwell, who even with drummer Moritz Neuner (Abigor, Siegfried, Dornenreich, Enid, Korovakill, Even Fall, Korova, Graveworm, Atrocity) in their ranks, fail to do anything with the genre except stick to its rigidly familiar template and as a result Metatron is just yet another predictable entry to a crowded genre.
The album sounds like a checklist of Goth metal; operatic female singer? Yup, Stephanie Luzie fits the bill perfectly with her sultry tones. Heavy synth work? Raphael Leposchitz step up to the plate. Mix of crunchy riffs and soft ballads? Oh yeah. Occasional electronic interlude? You bet. Each element of cookie cutter Lacuna Coil/Elis/Leaves Eyes/ Delight/ Epica/After Forever (shall I go on?) styled Goth metal is in place, well done and exquisitely produced, but what did you really expect?
Even opening with one of the album's better tracks (as most of their peers seem to do), “Forever Past” shows Stephanie Luzie’s ethereal, Kate Bush like dramatics with accent aplomb. After that, the album treads all of the hallmarks of a competent but to these ears, tired Goth Metal release. Admittedly, Darkwell are slightly more depressive and downtrodden, straying from upbeat catchy anthems of some of their peers, as the pace is pretty consistent throughout, never forcing the pace or trying too hard to be sad.
The lucidly morose “Crown of Thorn” with its interesting woodwind injections sums up Darkwell’s sound perfectly but also shows that the same level cannot be reached for a majority of the album’s piecemeal woe. Most of the songs follow a lackluster, predictable posture that seems to generally lack Goth metal’s high values. “Strange”, ‘Metatron” “The Machine”, “Hope Unborn” and “Last Glance” all do their thing, but with no flair or character. However, the late album duo of “Nothingness” and “Far Cry” do carry some redeeming value as they are far more ominous and dramatic than the rest of the albums lethargic canter. "Far Cry" having some hefty opening chops before delivering a rather delectable piano laced riff.
If you are a die hard Goth metal fan, you could do worse than Darkwell, but you could also do better. I’m actually more concerned about the direction Napalm Records is going.
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