Release DetailsLABEL Adipocere
RELEASED ON 1/3/2005
posted on 3/2005 By:
It dawned on me rather recently that to this day I have yet to hear a bad Polish metal record. Sure, there have been a few that have verged on uniform blandness, but I can't recall, for the life of me, a record that actually angered me, that I could definitively classify as a bad record. From atavistic, politically controversial cult outfits like Graveland and Infernum to ultra-modern death metal innovators like Lost Soul and Trauma, this wondrous nation has exhumed one quality act after another from its putrescent womb, generating an unparalleled momentum that will not likely relent anytime soon. I approached this review with both anticipation and trepidation- I have heard Naumachia in sporadic bursts over the past two years, and have never been enamored enough to pursue their work further, and as such this could very possibly be the first time I give a Polish record a poor review.
So, as much as it pains me to report it, it has to be done- this is not very good. At the same time, it would be somewhat unjustified to term it as 'bad', rather 'inoffensive', 'lukewarm' and 'unengaging'. Naumachia advocate a highly melodic, literate and reasonably sophisticated brand of black/death metal incorporating Dissection-inclined lines with somewhat prominent keyboards. The use of keyboards is actually surprisingly tasteful here, adding dimension and depth to the rich warmth of the record's more successful melodies, as well as an elegant counterpart to the more aggressive, malevolent passages. The music, to some degree, resembles the Kraut power/speed metal worship of Finns Norther and Kalmah, exemplified in the band's quick-picked, adrenaline-injected sections, while their reasonably creative use of the synth as a lead instrument bears a greater semblance to early Children of Bodom, before they upped the chunkiness (and clunkiness). The somber, melancholic sections, which make extensive use of serpentine, intertwining guitar lines, really brings Dissection to mind, and perhaps to a greater degree The Gallery-era Dark Tranquillity.
The problem with this record lies not in its execution- everything is admirably played, a handful of melodies warrant critical merit, the production sounds full and organic, framing the classy synth work and complex guitar work in a deftly crisp mix, granting enough separation to allow each individual instrument, bass included, to inject texture to the elaborate compositions. Rather, it's the fact that as well-arranged as these compositions are, they prove to be incredibly trying and impenetrable. When I say 'impenetrable', i mean impossible to digest on an active listening- I defy you to pay attention to this recording for more than 10 minutes. While I concede that my attention span is far from spartan, I do have a profound appreciation for bands that others find excruciatingly torturous- Sunn 0))), Om and Corrupted being some recent examples. This, however, is utterly trying after about two tracks- even more so than the sleep-inducing Finns I mentioned earlier. The melodies are too kosher, the rhythms are too safe, the vocals too sterile to induce anything more than an "Oh. That's nice.". None of these songs have any enduring value, the band refusing to infuse any cathartic ingenue into the tightly-wound melodies that would involve and engage the listener on a visceral level.
This record is far too friendly, too solemn, too stiff. The songs are hollow voids adorned with intricately constructed decorations- there is nothing genuine beneath the cosmetic veneer. So there it is. The first negative review I've written of a Polish metal record, and you'd fare much better spending money on a frame for this, than digging in your pockets for Wrathorn.
Register to post comments.