Release DetailsLABEL Stygian Crypt Productions
RELEASED ON 2/12/2006
posted on 4/2007 By:
For those of us on the staff who signed up to review any one of the slew of Stygian Crypt releases, our expectations were not high, and the reasons why are reflected in the recent Arcanar review of Dusty Lord, by my colleague Jon Eardley. It appears our hesitation was unnecessary, since everything I’ve heard from the label so far is quite enjoyable. Ebony Veiled from Lebanon’s Kimaera, is a seamless blend of graceful doom and death metal that is rewarding if you enjoy livelier, yet still heavy music that makes a definite harsh impact, but also taps a few more accessible emotive aural heartstrings here and there with a very convincing delivery.
Opener “Disarray” is merely 1:42, but effectively sets the tone as a beginning chapter for this lengthy affair. Guttural roars float wraithlike through the murky keys and staunch guitars like a seething beast stealthily making its way through smoke, giving warning as to what’s to come. “Among The Dead” begins with ghostly whispers and bells far in the background before a clear, crisp bassline leads into a chugging version of one of the main riffs, bringing trace elements of the music of their native country into play with the sleek melodic arrangements. You might be able to pick out some sparse exotic elements just before the song shifts into an entirely different direction, as Milia’s violin makes a major appearance, adding melancholic tones through the softer midsection before launching back into more chugging doom. “Idyllic Illusions” opens with fragile piano and female vocals (I’m not 100% sure who performs these vocals, perhaps former singer Sabine), soothing and relaxing before the music suddenly energizes and lead vocalist JP makes his presence known in an effective, intense contrast between heavier and lighter moments without sounding forced. It’s a true Beauty and the Beast duet, and it’s assembled very, very tastefully, and is repeated through most of Ebony Veiled.
“The Day Innocence Died” is a regal, majestic number that simply exudes class and thoughtfulness, a song that would sound monstrous in a cavernous concert hall, I’m sure. More female vocals waft through the tense, methodic chugging, slightly off-key in parts, which adds to the strength of such emotive material. The most pleasant part of this track is the technical ambition shown by drummer, Simon, who tosses in rapid double-bass and adds intricate textures to the differing moods. So unpretentious, but still so forward-thinking “In A Dying Embrace” glides into view with an epic feel that honestly does justice to the term, as siren-like falsetto aligns with a flurry of galloping rhythms and full-throated death vocals once more, giving only the slightest nod to Morningrise-era Opeth before melting into echoing acoustics and continued angelic, clean /demonic growled interplay. There’s almost a Celtic Frost vibe to this nine-plus minute song as it winds down through the final couple minutes, as though The Gathering is briefly attempting a bludgeoning interpretation of a Monotheist tune.
Album highlight “God’s Wrath” basically continues along the same lines, but this ten-minute undertaking is the best of all the tracks in a purely unexplainable way, capturing all the best elements of this band: the crushing riffs, grace, and those impressive death vocals showing heart and passion rather than serving to simply add a coarse edge. Keys dive in and out like a carnival sideshow of the hellbound, blending with odd tones and vibrantly-executed, muted leads, and more of Simon’s excellent drumming filling in the spaces of this massive construct. “Mess Of Hostility” is jarringly somber, but becomes symphonic and lush after the initial strained introduction, catching a groove and grinding it vintage My Dying Bride-style for the duration before collapsing into the closing title-track, where everything fades gently into the mist from where it came, exhausted, victorious, and scarred from battle.
Kimaera have produced an extremely admirable piece of work here. I’d put this on par with Novembers Doom when they really hit a strong stride on Ebony Veiled, and some moments are nearly in league with Daylight Dies and Agalloch. It goes to show good metal can be found everywhere, and to give it all a chance. It might not be easy to obtain, but if you managed to get your hands on this album, I can almost guarantee you’d never even entertain the thought of parting ways with it.
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