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Back in '96, when I was new to the whole black metal thing, I thought that the whole genre was a bit of a joke, but when I read about this band, Algaion, mixing in sorrowful melodies and a no bullshit type approach, I ordered the CD straight away from Full Moon Productions.
And I got exactly what I ordered. Sure, this was no The Somberlain, but I was quite impressed with this rather un-infamous band. The tremolo riffing is nothing short of waves of mournful minor key chords, with the occasional thrashy break down that also manages to remain quite soaked in grief. And the vocals are probably the real treat: maniacal. Not in a Bethlehem/Silencer way, but very unique and incredibly deranged sounding. If you've ever listened to Algaion, this was probably the element you remember.
Tempos are typically fast, if not blasting, but there are some breakdowns, and those are especially memorable and well crafted. "Kratos" and "The Last Delusion" are probably the best songs on here, and they are nothing short of beautiful. Possibly only early Katatonia has so eloquently crafted sorrow as well as Algaion has here. But then again, Algaion really sounds nothing like Katatonia...
Sadly, a drum machine is used instead of a real drummer, and when coupled with the sterility of Abyss Studios, it has a very mechanical, rigid, and cold feel to it. But is this necessarily a bad thing? No, because I've found that these elements give Oimai Algaion a real charm in a near trance-like quality. Few other black metal bands use drum machines to such good effect.
I can't say that this is the most original music to ever grace my ears, and it is certainly not the blackest album out there, but it is very enjoyable. And hey, it's EMOTIONAL, not fucking EMO!
The first thing that I want to say is that this album has one of the coolest keyboard intros that I've ever heard! Aside from that, Oimai Algeiou isn't really anything new to the majority of us black metal fans. Don't get me wrong, it's still a good first effort, but nothing really stands out as being great. While the singer has a somewhat original grim black metal rasp, the album itself reminds me a little of Ulver's Nattens Madrigal, only with better production, and a little more dark and streamlined. There are occasionally some very beautiful and haunting female vocals which do go well with the bands overall sound! If you're the type of black metal fan who is hell bent on seeking out every black metal album of the early to mid nineties, then check this one out. If not, I'd have to say that there is more intresting stuff out there, although I know some people who would consider it essential listening so you might not want to take my word for it!