Release DetailsLABEL Metal Blade Records
RELEASED ON 3/4/2008
posted on 4/2008 By:
The Rising Tide Of Oblivion was a pretty damn solid album, but despite my admiration for Germany’s Neaera, the follow-up Let The Tempest Come didn’t really cause too much of a stir with me at all. The stumped feeling I get from listening to Armamentarium is mostly caused by being taken aback by how competently generic so much of this CD sounds, once again. There isn’t anything too grossly offensive to be heard on this difficult-to-type album (except possibly "The Cleansing Void", but more on that later), yet at the same time part of me just can’t wait for it to stop playing so I can move on to something else.
Armamentarium is one of those albums I’ve listened to over and over trying desperately to discover something stimulating or especially noteworthy, resulting in sitting here unable to find much of anything to rave about other than the undeniable consistency of the songwriting. It's consistently decent, heavy, and technically flawless, but entirely interchangeable to the point of overkill. The energy levels reach a certain point right from the start and rarely deviate, which can be devastating if done correctly, but in this case it just becomes tiring. Yes, there are a few departures from the basic tempo with slow crushing parts and harmonious segues abound, blast beats make an appearance once in a while, speedy gallop-based riffs comfortably pad things in a safe cushion of melodic death metal with very little ‘core, and the breakdowns that do exist aren’t merely designed to knock things down off the neighbors walls with sheer brainless force. I’ll give ‘em that much.
"Liberation” is possibly the only track that caught my attention due to the way it opens with a roundabout mid-paced black metal sort of vibe, plus it has a very cool slower structure going on throughout the body of the tune that reminds me a bit of Novembers Doom, especially when Benny Hilleke drops his voice down into serious Paul Kuhr territory. But the clean vocals that accent “The Cleansing Void” barely manage to keep control and are severely pitchy, and soon leads right into the same formulaic Heaven Shall Burn-ish music that we’ve been peppered with for the past 45 minutes or so before assailing us with more off-key cleans. It’s really a challenge to sit through, and leaves an awful residue.
This was a bit heartbreaking considering how I really enjoyed The Rising Tide…, but there’s just nothing to report here this time around once more. Armamentarium is an entirely adequate German melodic death album with colorless songs, good production, and nondescript musicianship, doing nothing to put Neaera any higher on the ladder of renown than two years ago. It’s a case where they do just about everything right, but it’s done so blandly it hardly matters.
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