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This is Italian Graveworm's debut album, which sounds very different from their newer albums Collateral Defect, N(utopia), and Engraved in Black. This albums sounds a lot more similar to As The Angels Reach the Beauty or Scourge of Malice. In case you are not familiar with said albums, the whole pace of the songs is rather medium to slow for metal. The songs give an overall somber feeling, which is constructed mostly by the keyboard arrangements by Sabine Mair. Also noteworthy of noting is the fact that the album would feel a lot more empty without their use since they serve much more than just background. Violin arrangements also help set this incredible aura.
During the first half of the album the songs tend to be longer while at the end reaching average length for a song, having a total of 42 minutes in 9 songs. All of them open-up with some kind of melodic intro with the keyboard, which effectively sets the feeling for the song. Some of them even incorporate acoustic guitars, such as in "Far Away", and a frequent use of the violin which certainly adds variety. The vocals department offers some variety, having mostly low-pitched growls and occasional higher pitched vocals for faster parts, such
as in "Another Season". The lyrics are very poetic and doleful, providing a very good read for anyone interested in them. They also use the word "cry" very frequently in this album.
From the first song "Awake" the majestic melodic intro comes into play, followed by Stefano's signature scream and the vocals. This song has a melodic guitar solo and frequently uses keyboards to add a gothic aura to the album. Pretty much this song uses all of the above said elements in such a way that paves the way for the listener into the rest of the album. The song "Eternal Winds" begins with the sound of a storm coming up which reminds me of The Nothing from the movie "The Neverending Story". "When the Sky Turns Black" uses a very beautiful acoustic intro, which gives the listener something new, while still having the pessimistic inclination of the album. The last song is splendid instrumental listen, using different instruments while still having the epic keyboards in use. It also features a unique way of percussion which is a lot less harsh.
Now the album also has some flaws. In the drumming department there is not really much that stands out, it seems pretty average. But it coordinates with the overall slow speed of the songs, so don't expect ear-splitting blast beats. Personally, at times it seems repetitive and bland. It also becomes louder than it needs to in some parts, where the keyboards could have been more prominent as they are vital for the mood the album tries to set. The guitar department is quite melodic, but does not really offer anything that really stands out, however this is not really needed due to the other elements in the album being able to cover for this.
This album is strongly recommended for anyone into Gothic metal, Doom Metal, Symphonic Black Metal or Melodic Black metal. This album is also one of Graveworm's best, although the elements used in this album are made even stronger in the follow-up "As The Angels Reach The Beauty".
Originally written for sputnikmusic
In general this album is not bad at all. You could have objections to the sound of lead guitars (mostly in slower parts) and, sometimes, Stefan Fiori's vocals, but drums and main riffs are pretty fine. Most of the time they serve you mid-tempo grooves, with lots of palm muting plus lead on the top.
The kick off is excellent - actually the first song is the best on the album and gives you idea of what to expect; though the following songs are not as good, they too have some well balanced synths, acustic interludes or trademarks like synth/drum-only track.
Lyrics seem to be a problem of many bands. Graveworm never had and at least until Engraved in Black didn't have good lyrics; they're the opposite of any sophistication
you get the continuous repetition of words such as sky, cry , die, fly, eyes, skies, and so on. But well, not everyone has to be a good writer.
I sometimes listen too it, mostly from sentiment - these were times when we used to read Morbid Noizz magazine to get to know new bands, and 'Awake' was on one of the cds. And so I got to know Graveworm
If you're into gothic-related metal You won't waste money to have a look.
If you listen to the newer graveworm - get to know the old one; I mean 3 firt albums
to get the whole picture of the band.
If you're into fast, brutal, blasphemous, I don't know, some very extreme metal; you might be disappointed