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Decent Gothic/Black Metal. - 81%

hells_unicorn, December 22nd, 2007

Siebenbürgen play a variation of melodic black metal that mixes some gothic elements. Basically it features rapidly strummed riffs that sound a little bit like Darkthrone, but with a lot less repetition, and put an emphasis on riff breaks that sound almost power metal-like. In fact, aside from the vocals and the somewhat lackluster production, this album is almost like a less technical version of a Children of Bodom album mixed in with some Mayhem “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” era worship, with Transylvania and vampires as the subject matter for most of the lyrical content.

It’s not exactly the most original style at this juncture, but circa 1994 when the band started it was a relatively new thing so I can’t fully pigeonhole this band as copycats in the sense that some refer to. In some respects this band is closer to the melodic death style, particularly as far as the riffs are concerned. You can hear several examples of this on “Nattskräcken” and “Luna Luciferi”, as well as a general tendency to avoid the blast beat cliché by which most identify the black metal genre with, although the drum production does sound in line with the style.

There is some controversy surrounding this album as co-founding member and angelic backup singer Lovisa Hallstedt was apparently kicked out for sounding bad on here. After a few listens of this entire album, the only really big problem with her voice is that it’s been turned down way too low in the mix, which is likely not here fault. Bands often make up bullshit stories like this just to cover up the fact that they can’t get along with each other well enough to continue making music together for more than a few years. Still, the replacements that would show up later were quite good so perhaps this split was necessary, although the story will likely continue to persist because it makes for good reading.

There are two tracks on here that tower above the rest due to a series of uncharacteristic elements when compared to the general black metal scene. The title track is the most epic thing that probably ever came out of a black metal band at this point in its history, and has a particularly beautiful keyboard intro and some decent, albeit faint, angelic vocals in the background. The growls are almost unintelligible, but remind me a little bit of Skyfire vocalist Henrik Wenngren, a black metal vocalist who later got involved in a power/melodeath hybrid project no less. “För Mig...Ditt Blod Utgjutet” has a nice folk melody and dance –like characteristic implied in it, almost like it came from one of those small villages in the Carpathians.

All in all, my assessment of this album is positive, although this is pretty inferior to their later works. It lacks the consistent focus that is heard on “Darker Designs and Images” and “Plagued be thy Angel”, and the production is pretty weak in comparison as well. This album is still out there for those who want it, but I’d look into their latest material first. It has recently come to light that this band is reforming after calling it quits in 2006; I guess you can’t keep a good vampire down.