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Unknown Masters - 86%

rexxz, June 28th, 2008

Purtenance is an odd, unknown band hailing from Finland. They officially formed in 1990 and released two demos before their debut album, "Member of Immortal Damnation". This record displays excellent craftsmanship in the areas of both doom and death metal, for it seems to be an almost perfect concoction of what both genres have to offer. Make no mistake, there are surely plenty of other bands doing a similar thing, but not very many have 'nailed the bullseye', so to speak, as Purtenance. At times there will be a slow, mournful passage with despondent harmonies layered on one another masterfully, to give the full effect of depressive emotions... And yet they will instantly shred that moment from the listener and break away into a very brutal and pounding cascade of aggressive death metal.

The album is commenced with a short guitar melody ending with a bell toll, invoking thoughts of mystery and expectation as to what will come next. Preceding through the rest of the album is the blend of doom/death metal that many bands today have popularized and are well known for. The second track immediately starts with a plodding, almost as if it were a funeral procession. Not too long into the track is where Purtenance really decides to thrash things around and break away from the doom and gloom, only to enter into the next level: the realm of death.

The structures of the songs I think are what get me the most. Purtenance knows exactly how to keep a listener interested with the music, not keeping too many parts the same, and not deriving too often from their original ideas as to remain consistent. The musicians themselves have such a clear understanding of how each other works, so they can optimize this to the best effect to create music together that utilizes the best of their abilities. For instance, the guitar players will not try to outdistance the drummer in terms of speed, and vice-versa. Everything is practically perfected, including the vocals, which have a most unique texture. Not the usual deep guttural death growl, and not a very typical scream either, almost a blend between the two.

Are you ready to become a Member of Immortal Damnation?