Fear Of Eternity
Toward The Castle
posted on 1/2006 By:
You know you’re in for a fun ride as a reviewer when you hit ‘play’ on an album and your first thought is as follows: “Wow, there are underweight twenty-year-olds with long dyed-black hair and replica medieval weapon collections across the world who will hate me for panning this.” The fact that black metal as a genre is viciously unfriendly to both newcomers and change is hardly a secret; nor is its insistence on inaccessibility a little-known fact. This album, however, has crossed the outermost border of kvltness and penetrated deep into the realm of the completely ridiculous. That’s right, folks, Fear of Eternity are so completely tr00, so stultifying grym and necro, that they’ve put out an album that is impossible to enjoy. It boggles the rational mind that Towards the Castle was anything other than self-financed; that it was released by the respected Moribund Records is beyond any sane comprehension.
If nothing else, Fear of Eternity have (or, rather, has: the band is composed solely of Italian Andrea Tilenni) engaged in an interesting philosophical experiment. The man seems to have isolated many of the characteristics commonly associated with black metal (poor production values, simple and repetitive structures, distant high-pitched vocals, keyboards) and carried them to their logical extremes. Armed with a guitar tone so utterly powerless that it can be mistaken for background static and a 16-bit Castlevania keyboard, this contemptible project produces song after song of dragging, mid-paced ‘metal’ that is more likely to send the listener into gales of uncontrollable laughter than to intimidate or depress him. Tilenni shoots for the ‘atmospheric’ tag by writing tracks that consist of two or three basic chord progressions repeated interminably, but the only atmosphere he succeeds in achieving is one of supreme amateurism.
The musicianship on Towards the Castle is abhorrent; I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a metal album so lacking in technical or stylistic flair. KISS could shred this guy. The Sex Pistols could shred this guy. Hell, my fourteen-year-old cousin hacking power chords in his bedroom could shred this guy. In his defense, Tilenni plays every instrument here and thus can’t be expected to display mastery of all of them, but come on. Can’t we have a drum fill or tempo shift? Just one little fill? Please? Couldn’t you have tapped a buddy to provide vocals that didn’t sound like a castrated bullfrog wheezing through Windows Sound Recorder’s echo effect? Couldn’t you have at least practiced playing bass enough to progress beyond employing nothing but half notes? Nah, improving this album would probably have made it less ‘bleak’ or ‘mystic’ or ‘ethereal’ or some damn thing, and we can’t have that.
I’m not going to lie: this might be the worst album I have ever heard. It is disgustingly, pathetically, laughably, monstrously awful. The really brutal irony is that this very fact ensures that a handful of grimmer-than-thou BMers will proclaim Towards the Castle a work of utter genius, and that Tilenni himself will probably use every negative review as further proof that he is wildly ahead of the times. I can think of exactly one positive quality to be had here: you can hear the bass guitar (one half note at a time), whereas on most black metal albums, you cannot. There you go, Fear of Eternity, you’ve forged ahead into uncharted waters at the expense of all discernable value your music might have had. It’s hard for me to even believe that this album exists. I cannot imagine anyone finding Towards the Castle appealing for any reason other than its blinding lack of appealing characteristics. This release, in short, sucks ass.
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