Wreath Of Thevetat
posted on 9/2008 By:
Well I'll be damned, a symphonic black metal release from 2008 that doesn't make me want to light my face on fire just to stay awake.
Easy now, fans of the genre, I still revisit a number of the classics on occasion, but I've made it no secret at MetalReview that most of my black metal time is spent concentrating on the more blazing, calamitous, or just flat-out-fucked side of the fence. I'll take warbled howling and hypnotic buzzing over yet another hackneyed version of Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk any day of the week.
So, why would I bother signing up to review a symphonic black metal album if I feel much of what's released today is worn-the-hell out? Well, because I do occasionally crank albums such as Ravendusk In My Heart and Aspera Hiems Symfonia, and sometimes I find myself curious to see if anyone's taking the style to interesting new levels.
The bad news: Wreath of Thevetat does not bring anything new to the table -- not one tiny crumb. This is basically early Emperor worship with Dimmu painted on the corners, plain and simple. So, if you're looking for something fresh that pushes the envelope, you'd better look elsewhere.
The good news: Alghazanth has actually been in game for over ten years, so they know the formula really well, and they deliver it with enthusiasm and the sort of agility you'd expect from a band rippin' around for over a decade.
As expected, the songs on Wreath of Thevetat generally bend from fast, biting attacks to slower, more melancholic moments flecked with melodic tremolo picking. Of course everything's draped with the requisite epic keys as well, but thankfully they never really jump out and get too squirrely, which keeps things primarily focused on guitar-driven black metal. Graceful acoustic guitar also adds some spice to a few cuts, and vocalist Mikko (from Swallow the Sun) has a delightfully scathing black metal rasp that conjures a mix between early Ihsahn with a fair pinch of Gaahl when he's really letting a screech out of the barrel. It's all by the book, but it's done with a proficiency that makes the record surprisingly enjoyable.
Wreath of Thevetat isn't something I'd consider essential, and it's not likely to tighten your pants from sheer excitement, but it'll definitely do the trick if you've worn out the classics and have a hankerin' for no-frills symphonic black metal.
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