Release DetailsLABEL Trinity Records [Hong Kong]
RELEASED ON 1/1/2004
Signs of Darkness
The 17th Floor
posted on 7/2006 By:
This might come as a surprise to some of you, but Belgium isn’t exactly renowned for its booming black metal scene, but apparently they have more than a few exports to offer, currently manifesting in the form of melodic black metal band Signs of Darkness.
The band fancies themselves post-black metal, arguing that all their songs straddle the line of classical black-metal and avantgarde experimentation, but form what I’ve seen demonstrated on The 17th Floor, their second full length, this is neither anything “classic” or anything remotely avantgarde. In all reality, their foundational melodic black metal sound is highly derived from the likes of many German black metal acts, namely Siebenburgen with fluid rhythm lines and rollicking, pensive leads driving the music forward on a slightly predictable, but enjoyable path. The majority of the experimentation or at the very least open-minded interjections can be likened to both Noctuary and Epoch of Unlight with intelligent, but derivations from the norm that still lie within safe enough territory as not to alienate the majority of purists who might take interest in a band who can deliver a decent effort like this.
The really frustrating thing about reviewing a band like this is though I honestly enjoy the style and would probably give The 17th Floor more than the listens required to write this review if I had the time, objectively speaking I have to take a step back and consider that perhaps Signs of Darkness isn’t the most revolutionary act and despite the personal level of enjoyability I found, I have to take into account the at best, tolerable production, overused melodic lines, obvious song structures, and downright one dimensional nature of a band with little to no versatility through many of their riffs and even less between songs themselves. And while much of the material has its worthwhile moments of dynamic tension and well played melodic black metal, much of the album passes as overly lackluster and sounding more like filler of better bands
Considering how long ago this was released, I wouldn’t really be able to sleep at night if I recommended buying this while amazing releases from Gorgoroth, Spawn of Possession, and Agalloch are lurking on the horizon within the near future. So why does this concern you? If you’re a diehard fan of the style then The 17th Floor offers enough material to justify another purchase, but for the occasional fan or beginners, this is going to pass by unnoticed.
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