Review Summary: Excellent melodies with awesome riffs to boot.
It’s truly astonishing how much material flies completely under the radar without a careful eye; even then, countless bands put out records year after year just to make music. It’s these bands, these unknown, dedicated musicians, who embody the world of today’s greatest source of quality music. Therein lies the paradox, however; today’s quality material is often scarce; before finding anything worth listening to, one must either wade through countless hours of terrible material or rely upon the misfortune (and fortune) of other’s searches. Enochian Crescent
are a band much like this; relatively low key, they have been putting out albums for nigh upon a decade and half, yet their fan-base remains small. Hailing from the cold nether regions of Finland, their recent effort Black Church
brings nothing new to the table; however, what they do, they do extremely well.
Tragically, many black metal albums, unknown and well known, find themselves plagued (or deliberately afflicted) with bad production, making such intricate melodies virtually impossible to hear. Black Church
’s production is crystal clear as far as black metal is concerned; nothing is buried in a wall of fuzz and distortion; all the harmonies, the melodies, the solos, the chants; everything can be heard without strain of ear. This especially helps the instrumental work, because while not overly technically savvy, the musicians do play their hearts out, putting forth a fine showing of black metal heaviness.
Your average black metaller is content to design a song fairly simply, revolving on a few simple tremolo picked riffs; not so with Enochian Crescent
. Purveying the entire album are countless twists and turns; each song has its own identity, filled to the brim with varying riffs. In the vein of bands like Dissection, however, Enochian Crescent
throw in a great deal of melody along with their in-your-face style. Not only this, but the variance in tempos used by these Finns is unusual; several acoustic melodies are scattered around, and the rare (but it’s definitely there) solo bass part can be heard. Take heed; Enochian Crescent
do not try to cram as many riffs and melodies into one song as they possibly can (a la The Incurable Tragedy); each riff is exactly where it should be. Nothing feels out of place or forced, and everything works with its predecessors and followers flawlessly. The rhythm section finds themselves, sadly, doing nothing especially fantastic, being amiable with staying in the background.
While the instrumentalists are putting forth a splendid show, one of Enochian Crescent
’s true strengths lays in their deceptively catchy vocal department. Ranging from your prototypical wail to deeper grunts to chants to band choruses; almost everything you can think of aside from death grunts are included on Black Church
. The way the vocals stand out, however, is their deceptive, infectious tendencies. While at first some of the tones and voices utilized may be a little harsh on the ear (in the untrained sense), Enochian Crescent
makes up for it by presenting these techniques in a strangely catch manner. While it is not uncommon for a black metal band to use chants or choruses, it is unusual for these elements to be appealing. If you don’t find yourself chanting along to the chorus of Hendekagrammaton
by the end of the song, there’s something wrong with you. Due to the harsher presentation of these vocals, the catchy parts not only come off as fun, but also somewhat creepy. Unfortunately, the lyrical topics of these parts range from mediocre to laughably awful. However, if the listener doesn’t mind the typical satanic and occultist topics, the vocal department is a strange yet rare gem in the black metal scene.
The black metal scene, with three alleged “waves” and countless bands hailing from all over the world, has seen (and is facing) harsh times. As it is with many genres, at the beginning, many were attempting to innovate; by now, the genre has been filled with an absurd number of ostentatious failures and flops. The difference here is that many of the works that deserve to be heard, in actuality, only get heard just as much as the releases that don’t. Bands copy each other and repeat material in black metal (most likely) in more than any other genre. The intellectual would think that perhaps, after so much repetition and monotony, that most bands would not be content to just pump out the same album over and over. Alas, that is not the case, and is in fact one of Black Church
’s primary downfalls: excellent presentation combined with failed originality. Lasting just over half an hour, Black Church
doesn’t exactly stand out as far as black metal is concerned. Well worth the time spent; even if found to be unpleasant, it’s over before you know it, which may be the saddest aspect of them all.