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Prog-ish dark metal that works! - 75%

Lane, March 8th, 2012

Oh, metal from Eastern Europe, and some stone carving artwork on its cover. Smells like pagan! But no, at least not typical kind of pagan metal here. The band is Silent Kingdom from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and their fourth full length album 'Pathway to Oblivion' is a mixture of many things.

'Under Your Might' could be an intro for a prog metal album, which its piano work closely reminds of. But when the piano makes way for guitar work, it definitely feels more folk stuff from the band's homeland. 'From Dust' continues the folky feeling in metal way. Sharp, metallic guitars rip, loud drums pound, and sweeping synths make it feel epic. Heavy metal and thrash metal alloyed with folky and dark atmosphere, and with some semi-technical passages. 'Above the Bed of Stones' include some more proggy synthesizer playing and Borknagar-ish guitar stuff; it's dark prog metal, in a way. Also, some Amorphis stylings are heard; perhaps it's those Mid-Eastern spices in guitar and synthesizer work. The album continues in these trails... The band kept the songs quite short, and it definitely worked for their advantage. Plus, the songs roll very, very well indeed. But the similarity of the music is a slight con. Therefore, 'Old Ones' is a good breather. Almost all the music was written by guitarist/vocalist Amir Hadzic, so there's the reason for its similarity.

As the music is proggy at times, the musicianships must be good enough. The playing also rolls on well, and is tight. There's no complaining about the performances, except for vocals perhaps, which are a bit one-dimensional growling. But the music itself offer enough catchy stuff to listen to, anyways. The lyrical themes seem to handle humanity, and its trite side, e.g. betrayal, lying, history, etc.

The production is good all around. The music requires big sound, and it was achieved. It also requires clarity, because of all the elements it includes and the huge sound. That also was achieved. And let's not forget the kick, that is there, too. For a big part, both musical and visual sides were done by the band members, so thumbs up; it's not usual "short-sighted" work, as many bands have commited on their releases.

As I haven't heard the previous work from Silent Kingdom, I cannot compare this to them. 'Pathway to Oblivion' is a nifty little album. It has character, even though also familiar echoes. It sounds good and the band are in fire. A nice piece of slightly prog-ish dark metal, this.

(originally written for ArchaicMetallurgy.com)