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domenica 21 settembre 2014

Shores of Null - Quiescence

#FOR FANS OF: Dark/Gothic Black Metal, Katatonia, Moonspell
This is quite an impressive effort for a debut offering which has a lot more going on than really expected. The riff-work throughout here is perhaps the biggest influence on this which is quite a bit more varied and dynamic here which is quite impressive. This manages to include the kind of varied riff-work that doesn’t seem to mesh well initially upon first impression, as this has the light, romantic strains reminiscent of Gothic Metal up against the darker strains found in Black Metal, yet plays them in the tempo of Doom and somehow makes this seem quite organic and original. The main impression is that Gothic Metal here for there’s a more conscious effort to place that type of rhythm up-front and center in the tracks by being frequently utilized as the main style throughout, either by used to set-up the other sections or by coming into focus after those other sections do the set-up for the track, and through either method remains the more common variety throughout here. This does give the album a warm, lush atmosphere here with the swirling guitars featured throughout here providing plenty of gorgeous arrangements and dynamic variations throughout which is quite easier to get into than the harsher strains of their other influences. This makes for quite an impressive showing that gives them a bit of an edge against the other bands of this type, but it also gives this one quite a disorienting and scattershot appeal that really belies their infancy in the genre. Not really knowing which direction to turn and throwing all their influences together does make for quite a zigzagging album that continually whips around into numerous feels that never makes for a coherent whole but this can be something that’s fixed in the future. After getting by instrumental intro ‘0x0000,’ which is a droning heavy dirge with sprawling atmosphere and heavy clanking throughout, proper first song ‘Kings of Null’ offers a fine sampler of what’s within as there’s plenty of romantic Gothic tones, complex progressive riffing and darker Black Metal energies used sporadically in the sprawling section for an overall enjoyable track. ‘Souls of the Abyss’ continues that with a lot more lighter moments against the darker Black Metal sections but maintains enough of a good pace to allow this plenty of enjoyable moments. The darker ‘Night Will Come’ features more of those traditional Black Metal riffs amid the Gothic-styled arrangements for a quite dynamic and enjoyable effort, which is continued along nicely in ‘Ruins Alive’ which also features more of the darker elements in play despite a lot of warm, lush Gothic arrangements. ‘Quiescent’ goes back into the Gothic realm with plenty of lush arrangements, a lessening impact of the darker influences and a slow pace to allow it all to shine through quite nicely, but is just a bit too slow for its own good. Flowing along quite wonderfully, ‘The Heap of Meaning’ manages to mix together those elements quite well with breathtaking cleans against the most raging Black metal present on the album and generates an easy highlight. Quite disappointingly, ‘Time Is a Waste Land’ starts off fine with the blasting drumming and tight riff-work of Black Metal taking shape throughout before turning into a series of quiet, plodding droning that takes up the final half and really knocks this one down a lot as it really demonstrates the aimless direction of its varied influences the best here. The overall bland ‘Pain Masquerade’ is pure Gothic Metal throughout and really doesn’t do much of anything here to really wow with what it does. The massive sprawling ‘Eudaemonia’ keeps things going in the slow, swirling pace that just keeps repeating it’s riff-work throughout which does tend to make for a troubling finale but does have enough other areas about it to not only make up for this but certainly allows this to be a band to watch in the genre. (Don Anelli)

(Candlelight Records - 2014)
Score: 80