In Umbrarum Imperii Gloria
posted on 10/2006 By:
It's black metal time again, among my least favorite examples of the diversity my pet musical fetish has whelped. But this band has recorded it in a manner I can at least tolerate. You know, barely, but at least I can relate to it as metal. And that makes the rest of the experience far more interesting as a reviewer. I would say the band is as true to the roots of black metal as you can get without pussing out on the production completely. The compositions get more of a fair shake, and that's all to the good. Or evil. Whatever.
You get expository vocals, off the bat. The vocalist sounds as though he is lecturing you, albeit with a raspy burning witch voice, but there is very little in the way of rhythm or timing. It's a trick I have heard before, complete with reverb out the shithole. It's not my language, so I can't say for sure, but I imagine he is not wishing anyone well. The songs are dirgish with moments of typical black blasting, the guitars washed so heavily you generally have to follow the movement of a song rather than the particulars. The songs go on longer than I want them to, but that's my problem. With the occasional quieter interlude, it all sounds very true to form until the final track, which kind of plays with the idea of a little prog. It does make the experience a bit more thorough, in fact.
The musicianship is standard as well. Everyone sounds almost ready to go in their own direction at any given moment, but they don't. Apart from the drummer, no one really tries to shine, although the bassist will sometimes wax jazzy, and said drummer seems very competent most of the time. He is also right down the BM line, barely hanging on to the timing, yet somehow pulling everything off. Sometimes he seems to mistime things, but that could just be a trick of the production, which is a mixed bag. It has more depth than the average cult recording, but the snare drum is pretty weak sounding, having a high pitched popping snap that cuts through the music to the point of distraction. Everything else is reverbed and washed into the typical BM wall of thin.
The bottom line is that as far as black metal goes I like mine heavier than this. But the ethic of thin and weak recordings is what it is, and Absentia Lunae has definitely produced a recording that is more listenable than some I have heard. The songs, however, are just not enticing enough to keep my interest. As such, this record seems to me to be for the real purists, if anyone.
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