Book Of Black Earth
posted on 1/2009 By:
I never know how to react to albums that make me feel the way Book of Black Earth’s Horoskopus does. I recognize the competence of the players. I understand that this is some sort of death-black metal hybrid that they are attempting to play and I can assert that they are not grievously betraying either style. I would be overstating the impact this kind of band is capable of making by saying I hate this album. It's too bland.
Here's what I can say. The production is kind of sup-par because nothing is distinct or bright enough. All the players just seem to plod along at the same intensity level for the entire album. And, no, I will not allow "Christ Pathogen," the slow semi-doom metal track, to be submitted as evidence of dynamic songwriting. It's just a more arduous version of the other tracks on the album. The faster tracks, all almost entirely indistinguishable from each other, are rooted in choppy Gothenburg-style riff-writing, but only remotely-so. There's some thrash elements as well. But, again, it's completely vanilla, uncreative thrash. "Death of The Sun" follows the lethargic chord-progression to predictable semi-thrash riff, to non-descript slow part with synthesizer accompaniment in unrelenting, almost a-musical fashion. "Horoskipture" does basically the same, but on this track they swap the chugging chords for a threadbare tremolo riff. Book of Black Earth hail from Seattle, Washington. A corner of the world where good and challenging metal is made. Maybe, four or five years ago, when American metal was so poorly looked-upon by critics and educated fans, it was enough for state-side bands to get by producing albums that simply displayed an understanding of the basic tenants of more extreme styles. Not so, anymore.
I know not every band can contribute something meaningful to their respective genres. But, I would hope they could at least sound like they were trying. There cold be a few different things going on here that I need to take into account. Book of Black Earth might bear so much deference for the fundamentals of this style that they're actually afraid to embellish in any way. If that's the case, I ask, why even pick up instruments in the first place? Or, these could just be devout fans so indoctrinated in their style that they see any sort of deviation as unneeded. If that’s the case, they’re dead wrong there as well.
Not every band needs to be Unexpect. That would be horrifying, actually. But, what is fulfilling and satisfying about music, even death metal, is the window if offers you into the soul of the players. Book of Black Earth adhere so narrowly to genre constrictions and offer so little stylistically that their window is opaque. Not recommended.
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