Review Summary: A Symphonic Black Metal album that has a very dark atmosphere, backed by fast songs and high-pitched vocals. It offers varying song structures with satanic lyrics.
Enter the genre of symphonic black metal. The sub-genre is generally criticized for not staying true to its roots, and often causes bands to be labeled as "sell-outs", such as Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir. However, this album is not one of those examples. One of the reasons for this is that traditional black metal is not very appreciated by other people who are not in the genre; it often has low production quality, cold atmospheres, harsh, high-pitched vocals, and satanic lyrical themes. This style is not appreciated by many, sadly, and often leads to bands changing their style, incorporating elements from other sub genres of metal and often including keyboards. This band has several similarities with Cradle of Filth, as the vocalist was one of the many bassists Cradle of Filth has had. This album resembles the older work of Cradle of Filth, however (before they were considered "sell-outs"). This album retains many of the roots of black metal, however, one of the most noticeable features being the high-pitched vocals (which resemble Dani Filth's vocal style on albums such as V empire or Dusk and Her Embrace). The production quality is not too refined, giving it some of the traditional black metal style. This album manages to balance some of traditional black metal's elements with symphonic elements, to produce an evil and dark style.
This is the band's second full-length album, released in 1998. It manages to create a dark atmosphere with the keyboards, while having chugging riffs, harsh vocals throughout, giving the listener a complex sound to digest. Most of the songs are very fast, with unpredictable song structures, some songs do not have choruses, and just jump from verse to verse with interludes of drumming, keyboards, and guitar riffs. The vocals and the keyboards are the primary focus on the songs, except for some parts in which the other instruments are heard more. The drumming is heard more as a background instrument, as it is often overshadowed. The guitars and base are the instruments least heard throughout, there are no guitar solos(and there don't need to be any, its not meant to be catchy). The keyboards give do not only give melody but also set the atmosphere for the songs. The album still manages to be heavy even with the incorporation of keyboard symphonies.
Dark Requiems and The Unsilent Massacre begins with (Intro) In Nomine Satanas, which is one of the best intros I've heard. It uses keyboards and synthesizers to give a sense of doom and prepares the listener for what is next. The Pagan Swords of Legend begins shows what the album is all about, satanic lyrics, harsh high-pitched vocals, symphonic background melodies. The drums follow the pace of the song, which is mostly fast throughout. The guitars and the bass are not heard as much, but follow the keyboard melodies almost perfectly. This is one of the fastest tracks on the album. Most songs resemble this one in terms of sound, riffs, and vocal style.
Forever in Ebony Drowning is one of the few tracks which shows the powerful guitars, it has several instances where the keyboards disappear for the guitars and drums to give the pace. Upon the Kingdom Throne uses low toned vocals for a small part, and then returns to the high pitched. The album could have been more varied if the style had been interchanged more often throughout the songs. For Thee in Sinful Obscurity is an interlude which resembles the intro. Although it is not awful, it offers nothing new and is not really necessary as the mood of the album has already been placed by the other songs. It suffers from being too short(an instrumental track would have been awesome). Dark Requiems and Unsilent Massacre opens back up, with sheer speed and heaviness. The song does not offer anything new to the listener, but does have more of those keyboard driven melodies. Drumming is heard a lot in this song, and is very fast throughout.
Thy Sorrow Bequeathed begins with low pitched vocals and the usual instrumentation lead by the keyboards. It is quickly followed by a fast guitar and drum pace, this is one of the few instances in which they are actually heard by themselves. It then follows a similar structure to previous songs, with fast verses and same vocal style. Towards the end the keyboards give entrance to the guitars again, but is quickly overshadowed by the vocals and keyboards. It ends very abruptly. Ancient Graveless Dawn uses more keyboards than usual. It begins slowly with piano, followed by the guitar. It returns to the previous style of the other songs, featuring fast verses with symphonic keyboards to compliment. The song's pace does not slow down overall, save from a few parts where the vocals stop and the keyboards take over.
Overall the album is very symphonic, heavy, and fast. Songs suffer from being too similar to each other and makes it hard to pick any individual tracks. The album as a whole does not offer much variety, but manages to not be repetitive by varying song structures and having unpredictable keyboard melodies. The songs often slow down unpredictably, and speed up in the same fashion.
The Pagan Swords of Legend
Ancient Graveless Dawn
The Scarlet Forsaken