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sabato 20 settembre 2014

Vrademargk - The Black Chamber

#FOR FANS OF: Melodic Death Metal, Dark Tranquillity, Arsis
Like the majority of bands in the Melodic Death Metal genre, the impetus here is on simply proving that the aggressive riff-work and dirty atmosphere of traditional Death Metal can be melded nicely alongside melodic tones, and that’s what this Spanish band ably attempts here. Bolstered by a tight, heavy chug that really revels in the mid-tempo paces, there’s a central focus on the aggression here that comes across quite well in these segments as there’s plenty of furious rhythms on display as a calculated dose of technicality is merged into those arrangements to make for an even more exciting display. That dose of technicality, strangely muted in the second half, makes the upper half tracks where it’s present far more dynamic and enjoyable with numerous tempo changes and furious riffing that makes for rather impressive foundations for the flowing melodies to get a chance to explore more innovative rhythms than just simply popping up in the middle of the track for no real reason. However, that does bring up the central underlying feature about the album in that it is clearly one-sided with the best tracks almost exclusively placed in the upper half of the running order while the second half is quite low on those elements. The upper half is dynamic, varied and quite enjoyable while the second half tends to meander around in mid-tempo paces and chugging rhythms that don’t build to any kind of energetic speed, enjoyable rhythms and just tend to wallow in sluggish paces that are not in the slightest bit interesting. This is a straight-up rule on the album that can be followed quite literally with one song on the first half not working well amongst a slew of energetic, enjoyable tracks while one on the second half sticks out for its enthusiasm and energy amongst the gathered number of sluggish, plodding pieces that surround it. It’s a little disconcerting to notice that as this essentially cuts the album in half with no difficulty at all and hinders the album a lot more than it really should with more explosive tracks throughout. After the intro ‘Into the Heart of Death,’ with its low rumbling noise and synthesized keyboards making for ominous gradual build-up, proper first track ‘Undesired Funeral’ best demonstrates the band’s ability to wrap tight melodies alongside aggressive patterns and pounding drumming for an outstanding highlight. The multifaceted ‘Fear Itself’ continues this stellar work with tight rhythms, plenty of aggressive riffing and a slew of dynamic tempo changes from raging mid-tempo to dynamic start/stop patterns and even minor hints of groove to make for a spectacular effort. Despite some impressive riffing, ‘Anima Invictus’ is a somewhat bland track that relies way too much on the mid-tempo chug-patterns rather than really utilizing the other factors in their sound for a decidedly decent effort. Thankfully, ‘Taste the Sin’ goes back to tight rhythms and melodic work-outs which provide this with another stand-out track. ‘Més Enllà de l'Abisme’ backs up more tight mid-tempo chugging with razor-wire riff-patterns and pounding drumming for another decent if slightly overlong track with the lengthy mid-section ambient interlude soaking up way too much time and not providing a lot else to like. ‘The Empathic Misanthrope’ starts out all right with plenty of tight rhythms and pounding drumming in the first half but it quickly loses the energy and becomes nothing but a plodding, sluggish crawl to the finish in the second half that struggles to end quick enough. The title track goes back to the start of the album with furious melodic patterns, tight chugging and plenty of tempo shifts that manage to store plenty of energy and intensity alongside the melodic leads which allows this to revert back to being an album highlight. Ending on a sour note, ‘Deathcell Migration’ manages to whip through a multitude of patterns and performances across the extended running time and certainly demonstrates plenty of fine technical displays but just doesn’t get the energy up enough to make the most of the sterling performances. Otherwise, there’s not too much really wrong here beyond the lack of energy throughout. (Don Anelli)

(Self - 2013)
Score: 65