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12-31-69 7:00 pm
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A spellbinding journey through gale-force melodeath with tasteful blackening, Winter's Gate ebbs and flows effortlessly between soaring clean vocals and acoustic passages and pummeling riffs that evoke the ferocity of a murderous ocean, or worse. Taken individually, each of these tracks is beautiful?as is par for the course with Insomnium; however, the whole is truly far greater than the sum of its parts here, as Winter's Gate contends with (and surpasses some of) the very best single-track concept albums in my entire collection.
The only thing I can fault this album for is its production. The guitar riffs,
outstanding vocals, and generally sinister atmosphere are far, far better than
I'd expected upon first listen. Every single time I spin this I'm amazed by how
consistent Omen's badassery is.
Anyone rating this album in relation to the band's beliefs--whether positively or
negatively--is an absolute idiot.
More consistent than Bilateral and far superior to Coal, The Congregation is a massive
album bursting at the seams with unorthodox guitar riffs, spectacular drum work, and one
of the strongest vocal performances I have ever heard in my life. This album is
brilliant, challenging, and marvelously unique. It is also superbly mixed despite being
brickwalled, and manages to preserve the integrity of everything from the bass guitar to
brushes on the cymbals.
The Congregation is unquestionably a contender for 2015's Album of the Year.
Vials of Wrath
This Is No Fairytale
This album is goddamned twisted. While the lyrics could be better written they peel back
in layers, unveiling a spiraling horror that actually ends up somewhere I didn't see
coming. Sadistic, ugly as all hell, and melding dreadful atmospheric elements with an
unrelenting black metal onslaught, This is No Fairytale is easily among Carach Angren's
best--second only to Death Came Through a Phantom Ship.
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