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A festive joke for you all: What lasts much too long, quickly gets boring and you're glad it's over come the end of it? No, not Christmas, the latest Limbonic Art album now being reviewed. Ok it did infact come out in July, a month not renowned for it's festive cheer, but "Phantasmagoria" has unexcited me so greatly it's taken till now to complete it's dissection with the result being grimmer than the onset of December at a turkey farm.
Now being the sole project of Daemon following long-term member Morfeus' departure after the band's sixth and previous album, "Phantasmagoria" is the second LP since reforming in 2006, 3 years after the band initially quit claiming their well of ideas had run dry. Clearly Daemon is confident the water now flows freely enough to warrant another album but if this represents a man for whom inspiration has waned over the years he should probably consider calling it quits again soon. At 71 draining minutes over 12 songs any listener will find their patience being sorely tested by the mid-way point with the seemingly same symphonically-charged hyper-speed black metal attack being rehashed ad nauseum, reflecting the desperate need for a second mind to spark variation in the tone and feel of the album's procession. Second track "Crypt of Bereavement" has its better, slower moments but so much of what follows through "Portal to the Unknown", "A World in Pandemonium" and "Apocalyptic Manifestation" emerges doggedly difficult to navigate without the supply of memorable riffs and variation worthy of the name as the album's massively layered Emperor-esque production fills your brain to the explosion with it's incessant charge and inability to generate any interest at all.
Limbonic Art possess an element of the avant-garde edge that fellow Scandinavian's Arcturus and Finntroll own in more artistically crafted quantities but such is the staid manner of it's disposal you could be forgiven for thinking this band the black metal equivalent of Dragonforce - having written one good song pushing the accelerator to the max and repeating that formula as often as possible. Sometime ago I got through 1996's "Moon in the Scorpio" much more successfully where it's grimier production had the desired effect of anchoring the band's symphonic edge to a more sinister world, but sadly on "Phantasmagoria" we're left with half a band merely prolonging the Limbonic Art name without offering anything much to the current world.
Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net