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At points, this is about as uncomfortable as being stranded at a party back in '99 by yourself and then compounded by having a few trendy jerks deciding to show up: Ancient, Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth. Oh, not them. Oh, damn, them, too. And the hokiness hit the fan with them. Someone give me an exit or rope quick. "About the Christian Despair" is playing symphonic black metal that has one foot in the door to the underground and the other to the mainstream: the vocals scream, the bass never showed, the guitars play open chords as if palm mutes were outlawed and the keyboards are, yep, continual.
Where the demos had the guitars and keys unflinchingly following each other down to the precise note and measure, they attempt to include some separation here. At times, the keyboards are somewhat blended and more simplistic as it might just sit on a few notes or let the other instruments take charge. However, other tracks have the volume turned up to a bombastic and annoying degree. "A Song for Anu" ruined any atmosphere the band was going for, enough to not take the whole recording seriously, and this is only the second song in, mind you. Where's the blackness? Where's the threat? Unholy sacrificed virgin! It sounds uplifting. The sound is way too loud, and isn't helped by playing this simple harmony on the highest end of an organ that's about as far from hell as you can get and closer to hope, daylight and warm apple pies.
The vocals are very screech-like, to the point of being grating and taking away from the listening experience. I don't feel transfixed charisma, gravitating mysteriousness or enveloping darkness from them, I feel like blocking my ears with even more than my hands. "Feeling the Ancient Hordes of the Abyss" has a few that change pitch and are extended into a kind of howl, giving them a stain of memorable pained emotion. The speed can work its way up from plodding to a wall of blast. The guitars hand out melody and other rhythms that are going for aggression, though the volume of the keys can often take over and reduce them to an insignificant hum. "Blasphemy Calls" has a stand-out higher placed tremolo rhythm that's reminiscent of Emperor. "The Valley of Triumphant" went from being their saving grace on the first demo to choking out the guitars and giving the once-thought-cool organ a bad name.
"About the Christian Despair" has a side that goes for the fantastical but has areas that end up bordering on farce. Granted, it might be partly the fault of the equipment they were using, but with all honesty did themselves a disservice by having a deaf ear to limitations. Sure we got a man to outer space before we went to the moon, but we didn't give them laser guns and lavish outfits to force the experience either. The band also just had obnoxious places to put their keys, like in the beginning of "Blasphemy Calls" when the drummer is starting up the song with cymbal clasps, each hit doesn't need a synchronized choir effect. There are sections that go for subtle repetition as well, where all of the instruments are playing very few notes with little variation, though I'm not sure what the band is hoping to generate, as it's so basic and on-going that I'm stuck on the outside, looking in and then waiting around for something rewarding to happen. The vocals and keyboards are the main show-hogs here, but aren't the most representative. Mysteriis have a few effective moments that escape, but are bogged down by far too many others that in turn take away from an atmospheric experience that they were ironically trying to build up in the first place.