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Interesting Mediterranean black metal - 82%

Visionary, September 14th, 2005

First of all to avoid any confusion let me just say that final two tracks are combined as one on my CD copy. It is written as well on the booklet as “Hellas – Ode A’/Hellas – Ode B.’ This gives a total of five tracks.

I was going to write a review for this the other day but I am glad I didn’t for my opinion has shifted so much. At first listen it was total awesomeness but at other times it falls slightly in the boring category.

I was expecting some fast raw black metal that I heard on the “None Shall Escape The Wrath” split, for this is what led to my interest in the first place. However what we get here is a much softer and slower release. Now soft and slow treads on dangerous territory for me as I tend to just get bored and don’t go much further than using it for background music but at times Macabre Omen actually manage to succeed with me.

I seem to see that the catchiest melodies appear at the beginning of each song which leads me to believe that the band is attempting to catch your interest and slowly lull you in for the rest of the track. Unfortunately this fails slightly and is a major criticism of the album. For that is where the album becomes slightly boring for me. Along with this problem the general song structures are the same. Now let me take you through the general structure of this album.
Step One – Start off with upbeat Mediterranean guitar riffs and often combine with fast drumming and fast bass to give a dramatic effect. Don’t forget to make it very repetitive
Step Two – Turn the catchiness down a few notches and begin to play very repetitively while often including some breaks to focus more on the folk aspect.
Step Three – Have a larger break in the middle
Step Four – Build up the intensity in the last couple minutes to the point of climax at the end of each song.
Step Five – Repeat similar structure for the other songs.

Now that is pretty much the backbone for this entire album and can be applied to virtually all five tracks. Thankfully Macabre Omen produces some high quality song writing within these boundaries which saves the album. Many of these folk melodies simply kick ass and there is a definite sense of epic ness about them. For instance the intro to the final track just simply owns.

The vocals on this album tend to be very scarce and have short appearances throughout the songs. It would have been nice if they were used more frequently as it would have helped reduce the boredom. The vocals are done in a duet style where one vocalist emits high pitched banshee shrieks which don’t appear to have any lyrics behind them, while the other vocalist emits whispers or short spoken passages.

Now with all that mentioned it may seem pretty hard to see overall how highly I feel about this album. The truth is that I can’t decide how I feel. I have decided to give it an 82 which in my books is a high quality album. At times I feel higher about this score and others slightly lower. I guess it depends on my mood.