Estatic Fear
A Sombre Dance


4.5
superb

Review

by Kyle Ward EMERITUS
October 29th, 2007 | 157 replies


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A landmark of beauty, sorrow, and daunting rage.

Take what Ulver’s fantastic folk album Kveldssanger did for Black Metal, namely prove that a hardcore Black Metal band such as Ulver can indeed show amazing folk-inspired craftsmanship, and combine it with deep Doom Metal growls and Black Metal-like hissing, and then you’ll have something along the lines of what this unknown Austrian band has crafted here. The shocking display of craftsmanship and musicianship here is enough to give this a 4 without hesitation, but what really drives this album onto the fence between a 4.5 and a 5 is the way it simply captivates the listener, bringing all shreds of daylight and hope out of sight and out of mind. Estatic Fear is mysterious, releasing only two mesmerizing albums before virtually dissolving into thin air. Everything is used to its fullest potential; the piano, the flute, the cello, the keyboards, the acoustic guitars, the electric guitars, the thundering drums, the clean vocals, the harsh vocals, even ambient noises prove to wrap the music in an irresistible shroud of loneliness and melancholic beauty.

From the mundane to the epic, every emotion which makes metal and folk music what it is is portrayed with that kind of detailed thoughtfulness which takes a band of this caliber more than three years to put together. Now for the catch. This album was recorded, in its entirety, by one man. With the previous band members departed, the final remaining member Matthias Kogler partnered with a few guest musicians to put this together. As soon as this came to my attention, my jaw dropped. The guitars here show musical skill which is off the charts, knowing when to come to the forefront for a distinct melodic riff or two, then slowly fading it’s way into the background as another of the instruments takes the stage. Flutes, violins, cellos, and more folk related instruments add noticeable atmospheric lifts throughout the album, culminating together into a kind of Folk Metal show of power. The drums are nothing short of flawless, with an almost unearthly thundering effect and some seriously powerful double bass kicks and cymbal crashes.

Vocally, the ripping screamed vocals remind me a whole lot of Mirrorthrone in an almost uncanny resemblance. However, don’t expect vocals to be present at all times. Say there is a 10 minute track (such as the pinnacle track “Chapter IV”), I’d say vocals are present for no more than 4 minutes of the entire track. This shows you how seriously instrumentally-driven this album is. Whether the vocals are the aforementioned screamed vocals, or the Doom Metal-like low guttural growl, or haunting and calming female clean vocals, the variety here is daunting in it’s complexity, it’s unwillingness to drive the music, and it’s pure rage. Don’t think of it as 10 separate tracks. Think of it as an epic fantasy story with a prologue, followed by 9 amazing chapters. The ebb and flow is written with the utmost attention to detail and some of the best, most intricate instruments I have heard in a really long time. It’s unique in the way the instruments drive the vocals, not the other way around. I give my respect to Matthias Kogler for doing this nearly by himself. I give my respect to those who contributed each of the instruments to this album. I give my respect to the unwillingness to write something which has been done before.

It’s impossible to classify A Sombre Dance into one genre, it’s like a melting pot of the best of Folk Metal, Progressive, Black Metal, Symphonic Metal, and Doom Metal all thrown into this gargantuan masterpiece. But as the storm ceases, as you are drawn back into reality, you will realize that there is not a single reason why you shouldn’t buy this album. For $5 on ebay, there is no better way to spend that money than on this seemingly unknown work of art. You owe it to yourself, and you owe it to the sheer brilliance of this album.



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user ratings (129)
Chart.
4.3
superb


Comments:Add a Comment 
BallsToTheWall
October 29th 2007


48315 Comments


Another great review, and another album to get off of Amazon. Somebody here told me about Autumn Leaves being great and apparently they are, 100+ bucks on amazon, wtf, anyone know where I can find them at.

Digging: Negative Gemini - Body Work

freudianslipknot
October 29th 2007


803 Comments


Great review. Looks like I will have to get hold of this.

meep17
October 29th 2007


136 Comments


Ok, so I really want to check this out now...

good review too, btw.

Crimson
October 29th 2007


1937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Your reviews are so fantastically cheesy. I absolutely love them.

And this album sounds superb, I'll be looking for this.

Zoo
October 29th 2007


3759 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Crysis, your introductions always kick ass. Nasty review. I may look into this.

[quote=Crimson]Your reviews are so fantastically cheesy.[/quote]

I think passionate is a more appropriate word.

Crimson
October 29th 2007


1937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Probably is actually.

Zoo
October 29th 2007


3759 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

[quote=Crimson]Probably is actually.[/quote]

I don't understand.

Crysis
Emeritus
October 29th 2007


17320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Your reviews are so fantastically cheesy. I absolutely love them.




Thanks lol. They may be a bit cheesy, but you know what.....



I think passionate is a more appropriate word.




My reviews sound so different when I write negatively. I think ZooYorker hit it spot on with what he said. I just have a really good time writing stuff like this.



Crysis, your introductions always kick ***. Nasty review. I may look into this.




Thank you very much :DThis Message Edited On 10.29.07

Crimson
October 29th 2007


1937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't understand.
I was agreeing with you

I was saying that passionate probably was a more appropriate word.

BallsToTheWall
October 29th 2007


48315 Comments


So, apparently this is only a downloadable album to buy. I enjoyed what I just heard.

Crysis
Emeritus
October 29th 2007


17320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Did you buy it yet Balls? I know Amazon only has a downloadable MP3 version, but you can get the actual CD for $5 off of ebay if you search for it.

Zoo
October 29th 2007


3759 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

[quote=Crimson]I was saying that passionate probably was a more appropriate word.[/quote]

OIC ;)



[quote=BallsToTheWall]apparently this is only a downloadable album to buy[/quote]

Yeah, that's what it looks like. Too bad, too. I'd love to own an album with such diaphanous cover art. It's pretty damn cheap, though.

Crimson
October 29th 2007


1937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

but you can get the actual CD for $5 off of ebay if you search for it.
Not if I get it first.

Bwahaha.

edit: found quite a few going cheap, £5ish, buying now.This Message Edited On 10.29.07

Crysis
Emeritus
October 29th 2007


17320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There ya go guys.This Message Edited On 11.14.07

BallsToTheWall
October 29th 2007


48315 Comments


I've never bought anything off of ebay, always rely on Amazon to bring the goods. From the U.K, seems it will take a year to be shipped. till, i'm going to get this.

Crysis
Emeritus
October 29th 2007


17320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I buy stuff from eBay all the time. I bought "Lunar Poetry" by Nokturnal Mortum off there, it shipped from Singapore and was at my door inside a week and a half. Same with "Dawn Of The Blackhearts"... shipped from Argentina and got here in a week.This Message Edited On 10.29.07

jrowa001
October 29th 2007


8752 Comments


excellent review. i checked out their myspace....i love it!!

Willie
Moderator
October 29th 2007


17379 Comments


Great review... blah blah blah... I'm sure you're aware of it by now....

Sounds interesting... how is the production on it though? That could make or break it for me.

Digging: Hypno5e - Alba - Les Hombres Errantes

Crysis
Emeritus
October 30th 2007


17320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

[QUOTE=The Review]Pros

+ Awesome Musicianship

+ Fantastic Blend Of Different Genres

+ Wide Variety Of Instruments

+ Fantastic, Varied Vocal Performance

+ Very Good Production[/QUOTE]



:D

Willie
Moderator
October 30th 2007


17379 Comments


Yeah, that's my fault... I never read the pros and cons because that's 100% opinion... I like to just read the reviews and come up with my own Pros and Cons based on that.



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