Review Summary: Graveworm's transition album from older, more atmospheric black metal into heavier metal. Also the best from the modern band's albums.
Engraved In Black marks a transition point in the band's musical history. Graveworm's past albums were all much slower, much more atmospheric and keyboard oriented. The production was also not as polished as in this record. The older albums are pure symphonic Black Metal with gothic elements. The previous album, Scourge of Malice is the most similar to this, which started to incorporate heavier, more aggressive elements into their music.
The newer albums, (N)utopia, Diabolical Figures and Collateral Defect have much more aggression and even incorporate elements from other, heavier genres. The approach to the albums is very different from when the band started out but nonetheless, they still manage to keep their signature style prominent, and are still recognizable. This album is basically the less heavy of the heavy albums, per say.
The album has a sorrowful aura, similar to the previous albums. The keyboards continue to be quite dominant as in the previous records. The overall pace of the album is medium, not too fast or too slow. The sound is dense and thick, due to the strong presence of keyboards, guitar and base guitar. The major change would be aggression from the vocals from Steffan being the loudest instrument heard. The vocalist uses both black metal style vocals and heavier, death metal vocals. The vocals are probably what contributes to the new, heavier sound in the album.
The instrumentation in general is quite melodic and continues to be mid-paced for the majority of the album. There are some instrumental parts here and there and are a great addition as they let the listener take a break from the harsh vocal style. "Dreaming into Reality" is a song that shows all of the positive components of the album; has a great focus on melody while still keeping the harsh atmosphere quite prominent. The slower parts in the song are some of the most memorable moments, and become a glimpse of what Graveworm was in the past albums. The song is one of the best in the album and in the new era of Graveworm.
"Drowned in Fear" is also quite interesting, it displays heavier parts in the beginning of the song, but slows down in the middle for some moments. It then ends with a combination of incredibly atmospheric keyboards mixed with harsh vocals. "Beauty of Malice" is the last song that is not an instrumental. It has unique, chorus like sounds incorporated. It also pauses for a moment and even includes a small piano solo in the middle. It is a strong song to end one of the best albums in the band's discography.
Engraved In Black is defiantly the strongest album of the newer, heavier sound. It still has many of the elements from past albums that made their music unique, while incorporating newer, heavier elements into the music. It is strongly recommended for symphonic black metal fans as well as melodic death metal fans. Gothic Metal fans will also probably enjoy it since it still continues to heavily use keyboards for atmosphere and melody.