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A Disturbing Tale - 83%

OzzyApu, September 17th, 2009

I get nothing but deep, dark vibes from this album; gloom, despair, depression, and everything the Swedish black metal band Shining strives to be is met with this release (without going over-the-top with the “I’ll cut myself! I’m totally serial” deal). The original cover art is pretty controversial in itself, with a little girl putting a gun in her mouth – I wonder who else copied that idea for their cover art? I prefer the alternate artwork because it looks more surreal and comforting rather than blatantly notorious, but whatever. Hmm… anyway, I get nothing but black and white vibes from this album; it’s incredibly atmospheric without ditching its clear production values; the journey is dreamy, but polished at the same time.

This band caught my attention with their song “Alone,” which became the center of attention on the Metal Archives forum in the Flittering thread. A sample was used for the non-existent Flittering track, which just so happened to be rough ambiance with the melodic section from “Alone” subdued in the back. While it buried any notion that Flittering was indeed not a real band, my ears were hooked on the song itself. It was so beautiful, melancholic, heartbreaking, and full of emotions running wild in all directions. It was rupturing black metal with a doomy predisposition that had a very innocent style with a mysterious secret. The track itself stands out on the album with more harmonized riffs than the others; they float through the song like a ghost in an orchard, existing but lifeless. The production values were fantastic, but not modernized beyond all hell like many bands tend to think makes up for a lacking album. The riffs themselves reverberate wonderfully with fervency in this respect, and the mixing was mastered perfectly to reciprocate a balance between what would be conflicting ideas on another album. The combination of soothing bass lines, shrieky vocals, and catchy drum rhythms help transcend this song from twelve minutes of awesome music to twelve minutes of momentous bliss – an unattained feeling never felt unless heard by this one track.

Acoustics and clean guitar lines help dab emotional touches into the songs, but the harmonized riffs (a trait I’ve seen with many doom metal bands) really nails the right stuff down. Piano sections help me picture a very dark scene of a traditional 19th century family – ridden with grief and internal strife. The tone is ominous and solitary, but heavy and filling – bass is at a respectable grumbling level while the drumming helps you never forget that it’s really a part of the music. It does have that Shining vibe, but this band really does it better and the vocals are a totally different story. They’re ear-piercing shrieks that make me even gulp; very scary, throaty, and sound as if they’d hurt if I tried to pull them off.

Love’s Burial Ground is a slow moving album with slight variations here and there. The theme is pure death and longing, which no doubt will be felt throughout the album. It puts you in a transcending state of mind for a little bit, peaking too early with the track “Alone.” The beginning, middle, and ending of the album are part of the same instrumental trilogy which just add more to the atmosphere, painting a very bleak world that the album helps to thrust you into. They’re all soundscape pieces, but you’ll be delightfully quivering in fright all the same. To me, they give you a very short glimpse of what life / lifelessness was like two hundred years ago – very mysterious, black / white, and depressing.

Overall, there isn’t too much variety, and the pace of the album might bore a good host of listeners. Its adequate to keep me entertained, but I will admit that there are times where this album drags on… maybe even enough to warrant a diagnosis of the ”Genesis To Genocide” Syndrome. Regardless, its still a great work that captures a theme and focuses all its attention into making the experience one you won’t soon forget.