Release DetailsLABEL N/A
RELEASED ON 1/30/2006
Essence of Existence
Tome III: Terra Mentis
posted on 8/2006 By:
Symphonic black metal does not make my blood race, but it does not turn my stomach, either. I, and you will have to forgive me if you are a fan...or not - you can get fucked for all I care, actually... anyway I almost listen to this the way your mom listens to Loverboy. Well, my mom, anyway. "Chreeeyus? Hey, that's cool, who is that?" to which I reply "It's fucking Loverboy, mom. Remember? You ask me this every time you hear them. Knock it the fuck off already. I hate these child molesting, headband wearing Miami Heat motherfuckers. And I kind of hate you too, mom. Get your elderly shit together already." And mom smiles and whistles a Poco tune to herself as I smash the radio, again, then promise to buy her a new one if she will just stop listening to that fucking oldies station. I think we both kind of miss me as a teenager.
A lot like your relationship with your mother, no doubt...
I just don't care enough to get overly excited about it. Cradle of Filth notwithstanding because I don't feel like arguing about whether they are or aren't whatever you think they aren't, I think I bought a Dimmu Borgir CD once, listened to it three or four times, liked it a lot for a month but eventually put it in the "eh" category on my mental musical files and moved on. Frankly if I didn't review this stuff I wouldn't spend any time with it at all. But on the other hand, it's a decent enough ride while it's playing.
Background out of the way, this is the kind of recording that gives you the impression the band is about as much a "band" as your older brother trying out the Korg "synth" mom and dad got him for Christmas in '82. It had buttons that had the names of instruments on it and when he played the keys with those buttons pushed and you used your imagination you almost could pretend the "guitar" button made the keys sound like a guitar. This band sounds entirely artificial in every respect but the vocals, which are a death roar, a black rasp and what a female opera never was. Compositionally it doesn't stray from the path set by Cradle or Dimmu - maybe a hint or two from Emperor and Circle of Dust. Which may not have been a bad thing in 2000, but it really sounds tired today. Not BAD, per se, but flatly ripped off from better acts that were in their prime half a dozen years earlier to begin with.
Now, if we assume, and I think it's safe to do, that the band is not just someone's synth somewhere, then the musicians are certainly talented. For what it's worth, the performances almost live up to the challenges set by the bands they ape. Even the keyboards, nearly always a deep festering sore spot on metal records since about 1980, manage to give the songs a kind of campy techno-baroque feel that helps the recording a long way to overcoming the robotic gutlessness of the production. But not all the way. This recording is weak. It's as limp wristed a metal album as you are likely to find. A damned shame. The one thing both Cradle and Dimmu always bring to the table is powerful sounds. It saves the style from visions of dancing fairies and unicorns under a sugar plum rainbow. With fake, glow in the dark vampire teeth and cherry flavored blood from a tube, albeit, this record could have used that weight.
Bottom Line: I don't know who will enjoy this record, and I hope I never find out. It has the basic ideas to be a pretty interesting experience, if not exactly a headbangingly enjoyable one, but the flat, eunuched production keeps it form getting off the ground. I know some folks don't care about HEAVY metal, and they might get off on this if they are also into this style. I think most of us, though, can pass this one up without missing anything.
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