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...was my reaction when this album finished. It wasn't a good "wow" either. Sometimes when you listen to an awesome album, you are stunned by how good it is. However, with this album, the opposite is true. To give you an idea of what I felt when this album ended, you know that feeling you get when you get a test/assignment back which was really important and you get a really bad mark in it? If you can relate to this feeling then you'll know just how I felt at the conclusion of this album. Many bands read reviews and pick up and try to improve on common complaints about the album. Judging from reviews on their previous releases, it's clear to me that COF haven't either read any/many reviews, or they have completely ignored common complaints on their previous releases.
This album has a lot of problems. The first and probably the most serious problem is Dani's vocals. (Why the hell does use the female spelling of Danny? Thought I might point that out as no one else has.) They are incredibly high pitched and stupid. When the music is decent (it was never really good) Dani's vocals ruin what they have going and when the music sucks it totally butchers the song further. I'm still perplexed why the band hasn't fired him yet. He doesn't play any instruments, so why doesn't the lead guitarist take over duties; he would undoubtedly be better, but anyway...
Another problem is the excessive synths and keyboards used on this album. Don't get me wrong synths and keyboards are good; they add a melodic touch to an album. However they become a serious issue if they are used in sickening excess. Often, they will drown out the guitars, synths and keyboards are meant to fade when the guitar starts playing, not the other way around! The problem with the synths is compounded further by the synths and keyboards being incredibly cheesy. The aural effect is somewhat goofy and clichéd. For a prime example of this, listen to: The Graveyard by Moonlight.
The female vocals on this album, like the keyboards and synths are used excessively. Female vocals can do wonders with albums, if used properly, but far too often on this album, I felt they were used in totally irrelevant places which added, very little, if anything to the song. The only reason they seem to be on this album is because Dani "has to have female vocals" on every album. Maybe if the vocals had only featured on one or two songs, things might have turned out OK, but having them on virtually every song is just argh.
As implied above, the guitar riffs are sometimes difficult to hear because they are drowned out by the annoying synths and keyboards. When you can hear them though, they feature nothing which is worth remembering. In it's entirety, there were no guitar riffs which I thought were good, there were a few decent ones but there it ends.
Also a problem with this album is that its: 60-65% non-metal, 35-40% metal. When you take into excessively long intros of songs such as A Gothic Romance and Funeral in Carpathia and the "easy listening" breaks in the middle of most songs, one can easily see how this is the case. A voice in the back of my head screamed out "FILLER!" when I listened to the long intros and intermissions in the middle of songs. At least 20 minutes of this album could be cut from the album easily. This would have done wonders.
The lyrics, albeit well written also become a problem on this album. Especially when you take into account this album is 53 minutes long and most songs have LOTS of lyrics. The problem with the lyrics is that they often have a sexual, sleazy theme to them. E.g.:
Thy seduction haunts the castle in erotic despair
I know thy scent by candlelight
Immortal flesh I yearn to share
Appease the beast on spattered sheets
Dyed malefic red as sobriety weeps
She shall come for me.... "
If the lyrics are not sexual, they will usually revolve around a evil woman. This really started to get on my nerves after a while and the fact that Dani's vocals could be understood by the most untrained ear doesn't help. As if the agony wasn't enough already, if you want to listen to this album, you get force fed the lyrics as well.
So, in summary, this album gets a 1, because there were some parts where the synths and keyboards were actually quite nice and pleasant to listen to, however, they are of the most fleeting moments on this album. Everything else on this album is just bad. There is no other way to describe it. After listening to this, I am under the impression that Dimmu Borgir, listened to it, improved on it and thus released Enthrone Darkness Triumphant, which believe me is a lot better. I would strongly suggest you get, instead of this, or, Forest Stream’s Tears of Mortal Solitude.
Conclusion: The above is not recommended for purchase or download. I cannot honestly recommend this album to anyone.