Review Summary: Vampire themed melodic black metal.
From the beginning, black metal was not consistent of corpse-paint, blast-beats and excessive tremolo picking. ''Fenriz'', a member from the legendary Norwegian band Darkthrone
had a great way to label black metal in the beginning days of the genre. He said it kind of like this: ''It was basically sped-up rock with satanic themes and a much more aggressive attitude''. People today often label black metal as ''true'' or ''poser'' black metal. This idea is of course up to the listeners themselves, but what about melodic black metal? Can it be considered true or poser depending on how it is performed? This music will absolutely annoy people who think that black metal should be anything but melodic. But people who are open-minded to any kind of black metal should take a look at the Swedish band called [i]Abyssos]/i].
[i]Abyssos]/i] have already released two full-length albums and their last one was Fhinsthanian Nightbreed
. From first to last track, the listener will almost be in a coma of enjoyment because of the greatness that Fhinsthanian Nightbreed
has to offer. All in all, Fhinsthanian Nightbreed
is straight-up atmospheric, melodic vampire-themed black metal. From blast-beating frenzy to melodic relaxation to creepy and slow-moving passages, this album has almost everything you could want from a melodic black metal album.
is clearly a vampire themed album. Here you barely have any lyrics based on satanic themes (which black metal is notoriously known for). The guys in Abyssos
have managed to craft some really epic songs coupled with interesting lyrics that consist of vampires, ghosts, demons, witches and other types of nocturnal supernatural beings. Even evil witchcraft and summoning of evil spirits plays its role throughout the lyrics as well. Only in the track Where Even Angels Fear To Tread
you will find some lyrics focused on anti-christianity. The song writing isn't necessarily groundbreaking or utterly poor but it definitely is a nice break from the hordes of bands that only focus on lyrics based on supreme loyalty to hell and satan.
The vocals on this album are what you would usually expect from a black metal band; raspy and intense screaming. The best thing about this singer ''Af Fhinstha'' (who was a session singer) is that he has a very effective vocal style. Some bands tend to have vocalists who have a very weak and squealing type of scream (like in Cirith Gorgor for example), but this guy has a really sharp and vicious vocal style. There is very little variation here though, simply changing his pitch up a little and on rare occasions, he tends to force out some darker ''half-growls''. Nonetheless, the singer has a perfect black metal voice and provides a boost to the already very chilly and evil atmosphere. Another positive point is the abundance of vocal guest appearances. Many of them are unknown but there are at least two female vocalists and one male singer who pop up from time to time to add a few melodic vocal moments.
The album is mainly driven by the guitars; no doubt about that. But truth to be told, Rehn knows how to handle his instruments and especially the guitars. He delivers an array of different guitar playing styles. Fast, incredibly skilled tremolo pickings are the most common style. During the slower rhythmic sections, he pulls out some nice-sounding power chords coupled with great melodic leads. Every song here features really great guitar work and even if most of the songs follow a similar pattern, the guitars rarely fail to intrigue the listener. Like many (or possibly all) black metal bands, the bass never gets a chance to come forth. This doesn’t serve with much importance throughout due to the style of music, but on occasion the music becomes slightly flat because of the lack of ''umpfs'' from the bass.
Keyboards are also an important ingredient within this phenomenal album. The listener will surely experience some wonderfully put together technical keyboard tinkering as well as neo-classical piano sections. She Only Flies At Night
is a perfect example regarding the keyboards. This little filler track could only made by a skilled keyboard-handling and it may just remind you of the work that Embraced
used to play when they were active. Fancy keyboards are not so common here though since the atmospheric and epic sound arrangements dominate most of the songs.
Some people enjoy black metal because of the musical aspects, but there are some who don’t like these endless and monotonous blast-beats. This is a great feature of the album and the blast-beats are not as common as you might expect. Here you have practically all sorts of drum patterns that are common in extreme metal. There are pulsing and catchy sections, blast-beat fury, ''slayer drumming'', rapid double bass drumming and more. There are almost continuous tempo changes and variation within the drum performance so there is no possible sign of repetitiveness.
is truly an impressive black metal release that many people would find to their liking. There is actually just one very critical aspect that some people love and some hate; the sound production. For black metal standards, this is no way near the primitive and raw sound that can be heard on albums like Transilvanian Hunger
for example. The sound production is very clear and modern, but it is also important to point out that the album should not be compared to non-melodic black metal bands. For whose who were hoping for a low-tech production in this album will find this to be quite uninteresting. People who prefer quality will definitely enjoy this album even more.
People who are open-minded to any type of black metal should definitely look into Abyssos
are not the stereotypical black metal band that preaches of human supremacy or homage to Satan, Abyssos
is melodic black metal with themes that are connected to occult and vampires. Some albums that could possibly be comparable to Fhinsthanian Nightbreed
(music wise) would be Emperor's
debut album In The Nightside Eclipse
. This album will definitely be revolting to those who believe that black metal should sound low-tech and raw but people who have an open-mind and interest in other types of black metal will definitely enjoy this band and album. Fans of bands like Emperor
and Diabolical Masquerade
or even melodic death metal bands should check this out.
-- Finally I Kissed The Pale Horse
-- Masquerade In The Flames (Another Black Friday)
-- Worthless Soul For Sale?