Release DetailsLABEL Pro Con Media
RELEASED ON 4/18/2005
The Unclenching of Fists
posted on 6/2005 By:
Ah, always good to hear some metal imported from Portugal. The Firstborn have been around since 1995, however, this is only their fourth release, including demos. Largely inspired by Tantric Buddhism, The Unclenching Of Fists took the band four years to write. But is it good? Yeah, overall, it is, yet given the time it took to compose this album, the band still sounds very young.
This is basically what would happen if Nile lacked the production they have and attempted to make a symphonic black metal album. Primarily I say that because of the Middle-Eastern feel that a lot of their music has, most notably in the ethnic instrumentals and introductions. It's not as specifically death metal as Nile. I get the impression if I had heard this maybe six years ago, I would've adored it. "To Roam The Endless Plains" sounds sort of like a death-metal inspired Emperor, with this strange throaty singing that's different but enjoyable, along with perplexing keyboard arrangements. When the basswork is audible, it can be quite impressive, particularly on "Path Of The Mindwalker". So there's definite talent. It's mainly with some of the more unconventional instrumentation is what hinders as well as assists the music. When the keyboards, flutes, and other instruments are used, it sounds like someone recorded the tracks completely independently from the rest of the music. It's odd, and it makes me think I have some idiot's Yahoo webpage open, but at the same time, it also demands a closer listen. "Voyage", one of the more memorable tracks, uses some competent singing and layered viking-esque vocals. Luckily, this isn't the only time they utilize the husky choral singing, as "Absolute" features this vocal style after another few bars of unconventional black/death metal.
The recording quality's sort of murky, and it doesn't complement the music the same way plenty of other bands use poor production to their advantage, but for being relatively unknown, it's hard to blame them and sounds alright in the end.
Even if it weren't close to an hour long, I'd still say that there's a lot to absorb on The Unclenching Of Fists. Whether that's good or bad, I'll leave that for you to decide. Granted, about ten minutes of the album is devoted to blank space at the end of the title track, in order to introduce a superb but short instrumental that comes in. To summarize, The Firstborn have written an extremely ambitious album that only those with devotion and a strong attention span will be truly rewarded by.
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