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Okay, I'll admit that I enjoyed their previous albums, but I sure don't classify this band as black metal for obvious reasons. They're more like atmospheric Iron Maiden with extreme metal elements. Up 'til here, things were at least interesting.
That's the problem with this album. Apart from adding in a few Suffocation-esque vocals, the whole thing really feels tired and boring. Absolutely NOTHING new here. Songs are long, but they don't really build or go anywhere. It is really frustrating, because with bands like this, who build really long epic songs, you expect powerful changes at appropriate moments, but when the change comes around it's a big let down. A few good riffs here and there, then the rest is total filler.
The atmosphere that was on Dusk... is pretty much gone. Oh yeah, they throw in the obligatory keyboard intros, but as I've always found, they're total filler. Crap! Oh, and no soaring Maiden-esque melodies either. It's like they wanted to do Principle of Evil... again to look hard, but instead took two steps back.
What really pisses me off is the drum sound, which is nearly as bad as St. Anger in places. Listen to the first real song on here...the bass drums sound like the fucking snare! And that doesn't change throughout the album. AAARRRGH! Dusk and Her Embrace had a really full sound to it, which worked wonders with this atmospheric music, but on here, with a more "brutal" sound, this shit doesn't work anymore. You need some bottom end for music like this, and this album most certainly lacks that.
Sweet packaging but a cowpie of an album inside...sheesh. At least they ditched the stupid ass vampire shit for this album.