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A day where I was feeling like discovering gothic metal I haven't listened to before, I came upon this album, Godless Beauty. I took a peak at the cover and the name and thought, "oh, it's look to be a great album, time to check it out," and sure enough I did. I started listening, immediately I heard death metal music. I kept listening, I noticed the riffing was not normal death metal riffing. At that point I could tell it was also gothic and doom metal! I kept listening, and listening. The music was really getting good. When I was done listening to the whole album, I labeled it as one of my favorite albums of melodic death metal, doom metal, and gothic metal. Done with the story, on to the review!
This album marks a significant change to Crematory's sound of previous records. Godless Beauty has less fast drumming and a lot less death metal. Cemetary decided to change their style to a more dramatic and melancholic death metal, mixing the elements of doom and gothic metal into the music, creating a gorgeous atmosphere. The riffing is groovy and melodic, in their previous albums it was not.
For 1993, this album is quite amazing. Firstly, it does not sound like it's from 1993. Secondly, it's way advanced compared to most death/doom/gothic metal bands. I can't name much doom, death, or gothic metal bands in 1993 that used so much melody in their music like Cemetary.
If you're someone who likes melodic death metal, death/doom, doom metal, or gothic metal, I recommend you check this album out! It's beyond amazing.
Following a strong debut album of atmospheric melodic death metal, Cemetary release Godless Beauty, an album that finds the band making the transition to a more gothic approach. While their first offering was a gloomy style of classic-era Swedish death metal elaborated with passages of acoustic guitar and dreamlike ambiance similar to early Tiamat, Godless Beauty shifts towards a sound similar to Paradise Lost's Gothic merged with Tiamat's Clouds. However, unlike those two works which preserved the death metal voice over music that evolved beyond the stylistics of the genre, on Godless Beauty, Cemetary have not yet entirely rid their sound of death metal elements, resulting in an album that, while not unfocused in its direction, represents a band in the midst of a stylistic transition.
I am the night, the dreams of blood
The claws that shred the sun
...the night, the weeping moon
Cemetary’s songs are fairly basic in design and execution, presented in traditional rock‑structured formats and a simplistic instrumental application, with occasional modifications. This provides the musical themes with a firm foundation and identity, and allows the melodies and atmospheres to establish a dominant presence in the sound. The band's strength lies in their ability to hook the listener into the feelings of a song through familiar arrangements through which flow gripping expressive portrayals, best represented in “The Serpent’s Kiss”, And Julie is No More", and "By My Own Hand". Vocals by band leader Mathias Lodmalm are a fevered growl that changes tone according to thematic mood, ranging from sinister to mournful, occasionally employing a gruff style of gothic singing. The emotional core of these songs is most powerfully communicated through atmospheric lead guitars and emotional solos of a highly expressive quality that shines through the darkness of riffs like the awakening to a golden dawn.
"The silence came so suddenly
No longer am I to breathe
The grip of life has faded
Mourning has come to an end"
Most of this material is slow or mid-paced, establishing dreary moods in the expression of suicidal fantasies and brooding reflections envisioned during the nightfall of the spirit. Yet, "Now She Walks The Shadows", "Chain", and "Sunrise (Never Again)" move at a faster pace, and effectively balance aggression with atmospheric tranquility and melody. What separates Godless Beauty from most other doom/death releases of this era is its song‑based approach instead of elaborate portrayals of sorrowful orchestrations. This is not challenging music in terms of compositional or instrumental complexity, yet its moody enchantment casts a spell of dark serenity, exhibiting a pronounced presence of a beautiful melancholy which places this usually overlooked album alongside the premier works of the gothic doom/death movement.
This could be one of the most underrated albums you’ve never heard about. Certainly it’s one of the most underrated albums from the early Swedish death metal scene. Is it death metal, 70’s Rock, death/doom, melodic death metal? Probably all of them. It is quite frankly a bit unique in its sound and therefore a bit hard to describe.
It is however recorded in the famous Sunlight Studio and it is Mathias & Co second effort. The first album was a pretty straightforward death metal affair, even though it had that special weird guitar sound and the very beautiful acoustic part sticking out. This however, like I said, sounds like little else. Fans of Paradise Lost – Gothic and early Tiamat will enjoy this, throw in some blues and 70’s rock and you’ll start to get a feeling for what it sounds like.
From the moment you press play on tape and hear the first riff from ‘Now She Walks the Shadows’ you’ll know that it’s a cool album. It’s a pumping song with a daga-daga-daga-daga riff that just gets you going, even though there are no double bass on the drums (which for me almost always is a must). And then the break comes at 0.50 slowing things down, to a heavy as fuck riff, giving you a chance to breathe. And then you hear the sample from Evil Dead II ‘Groovy’ and it’s off into a solo.
‘The Serpent's Kiss’ follow – a slow, but quite haunting track with some cool lyrics (The way I think may scar your mind).
‘And Julie Is No More’ starts of extremely awkward, like we missed the first 10 seconds of the song. The main riff is quite simple, but spellbinding as it moves up and down. The vocal is like the very definition of the word ‘harsh”. After the break with another movie sample the guitar solo gets started with Mathias shouting ‘Go’ many years before Tomas (At The Gates) made it famous in ‘Slaughter of The Soul’.
‘By My Own Hand’ is a Goth/Doom ballad that describes suicide in a beautiful, yet disturbing way that very few songs that I’ve heard have ever done.
Speed is then raised with the next track ‘Chain’ that gets started with a quote from Wes Cravens horror flick ‘Shocker’. The song features a very cool distorted voice in the middle that somehow makes you think of any serial killer that you have ever read about. Probably the weakest son on the album though.
‘Adrift in Scarlet Twilight’. If the last song was the weakest, this is the absolute gem. It has a riff and sound that makes the hair stand out on my neck. The opening riff and Mathias scream makes me think of someone that just has finished pushing a car up a big hill and this is the moment that he reaches the crest. Then there is the bridge leading into the chorus that is just melodic death metal defined. Getting help from the single guitar tone. And like any great song it has a break. It comes in at 2.50 and there we get a treat with a Middle East influenced acoustic thing. And with a big James Hetfield -like ‘Yeahahaeeaeeeh’ it’s back into the song.
‘In Black’ has a slow, grinding, eerie feeling to it that somehow makes me think of New Orleans. It’s just good, even though it does not stand out.
‘Sunrise (Never Again)’ is another speedier song with a lot of different breaks and tempo changes that keeps it interesting from start to finish. The acoustic breather, once again, is fantastic and I just love when the son kick starts again.
‘Where the Fire Forever Burns’ closes the album in a beautiful way. It seems like it is just not the end of the album, but after this song it probably is the end of the world as we know it.
And there you have it. My first (and probably last) written review of an album. I did however think that this one deserved it, and hopefully I get at least one person interested. Even if you disagree on every single point I’ve made.