VII Dogmata Of Mercy
posted on 9/2009 By:
They say never judge a book by its cover, but with the awful moniker and artwork, the band’s promo shots of a rather haggard and middle aged group of men that look more like a power metal band from the 80's, and not to mention the album is a re-issue on Crash Music no-less, things aren’t looking good before I even hit play.
However, as a professional journalist I reserved judgment and did a little more research, discovering that Poland’s Cryptic Tales have been around for over 20 years (explaining the aged look of the band) with three albums since 1992 and this, their fourth album, was originally released in 2008 in the far more respectable Empire Music (Vesania, Trauma, Crionics, Lost Soul, etc).
It ends up that Cryptic Tales play a pretty standard but rather well done form of symphonic black metal heavily rooted in Dimmu Borgir, Old Man’s Child and such. It's sweeping, stirring, string filled synths and heavy handed orchestration flocking some decent riffs that bounce between well produced, melodic black metal and death metal. Then there’s the expected black metal rasp injected with the odd death metal growl. And you know what? It’s actually not too bad, and in fact for symphonic black metal some of the better material I’ve heard.
With seven songs that range from six to eleven minutes, there’s plenty of music, and while there’s nothing earth shattering to Cryptic Tales’ delivery, there’s some decent moments on VII Dogmata of Mercy. Opener “Purgatory” forgoes the usual theatrical intro, and goes straight into some solid, varied riffs and majestic synths. Second track, “Towards Modern Darkness” has a very nice reoccurring melody line a few seconds in before unleashing a very Dimmu-ish blast beat and tinkling synth section, and by this time my attention is truly grabbed. Ultimately, my attention does wane somewhat halfway through lengthier tracks like “In Immortality” and penultimate track “VII Dogma Of Mercy.” However, I can’t say at any point I was bored or unhappy with the material as Cryptic Tales mange to deliver a nice balance of melody, majesty and menace is tracks like “Set the Unholy Icons Free,” “Like In the Darkest Stormy Nights” and closer "Valley of the Dolls II." Also, on the positive side, things remain relatively cheese free, with no truly forceful theatrics (grim spoken words, clean vocals, samples or large instrumental segments) as Cryptic Tales keep things relatively riff centered.
Overall, along with Carach Angren’s Lammendam (also released in 2008 but recently gracing these ears), one of the more solid symphonic black metal releases heard of late, and from an unexpected source. VII Dogmata Of Mercy is definitely for fans of Dimmu Borgir and Old Man's Child. Even if it is on Crash Music.
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