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I don't like to hate on a record just because it isn't more than it is, but come on, Taliándörögd, is this really the best you can do? "Neverplace" is an EP that simply sounds so minor and inconsequential you can't help but kind of resent it. In essence, this CD is nothing more than a rehashing of what Dimmu Borgir was doing at the same time period but with more overt black metal elements- seriously, remove the blast beats and it would be hard to distinguish this from that band or early Nokturnal Mortum. While the idea of that sounds cool- the professionalism and slick modernity of Dimmu's later career colliding headlong with their earlier black metal style- the reality is that it just comes off as sounding like two pretty boring things instead of one. I almost forget this EP is on when it's actually playing.
A lot of the problems Dimmu Borgir suffers from are the same that bring this down: the keyboards are really overbearing and tend to just shimmer arbitrarily without really going anywhere in particular. The melodic style is horribly cracked between pretty cool, vikingish midpaced passages (like on "The Glimpse") and artificially grim-sounding Dark Funeral knockoff tremolo, which comes across as cheesy at best and tends to ruin the more mellow moments. If all Taliándörögd did was stick to the more midpaced, atmospheric sections of their music, this would sound like a decent enough knockoff of Dimmu's first couple albums; but in the pursuit of variation, there's a loss of focused songwriting. A couple elements are neat- I do like the solos which tend to appear on each song; they're suprisingly well composed and gripping. The drumming is pretty fun to listen to. The production is full-bodied and swirling in a nicely wintry way. But for the most part, the package is just so dull and paint-by-numbers I can't think of a reason to listen to it.
A lot of this stuff popped up from the early to mid-'00s, but it's definitely not anything we need to think about now.
Researching the french scene, I’ve found this great EP and I’m glad I did. Taliándorogd plays melodic black metal with hints of thrash and death in the riffwork and some nice “symphonic” keyboards. Oddly enough, this is the only true BM material released by the band (not counting the demo), since they decided to follow a different musical path with their full-length debut.
The album’s vibe is genuinely black metal, mostly because of the keyboards and vocals. However, some moments of the riffwork are not that far from a well-elaborated thrash album: The riffs don’t rely on ultra-fast tremolo picking but instead, they go for a midpaced chugging (and some slow paced melodic death metal strumming). The rhythm guitar’s tone is also pretty thrashy and I don’t think some of these riffs would be out of place in, say, a Stone album like “No Anaesthesia”, well known for it’s techincal and creative thrashing. The riffage is very solid but I think it lacks a slight bit of memorability. Some songs lack that kind of “lead riff” that makes one section of a song soar over the others. Still, if you overlook this minor quibble (and I’m sure you will), you’ll get some nice riffs and in good amount. I could even say this album is “headbangable”, an adjective usually not applied to BM.
The drum performance is really good, with some driving beats and rolls, along with double-bass that follows the pace of the music (more midpaced than fast). The drum patterns have something of defiant and marching and the blastbeats are played in different speeds, giving variation and effect. The drum sound doesn’t overpower the other instruments.
However, the highlight of the music is given by the excellent keyboards, symphonic parts and guitar solos (yes, black metal with guitar solos). The key player seems to give a different context to every song: The intro (which should be an outro, at least IMO) sounds cold, while the two next songs sound powerful and imponent, just to fade into an aura of monumental sadness (third song). Sometimes, they are eerie, somber…just listen and feel them by yourself. The very well composed solos, when allied with the keyboards or marching along the drum patterns create a very remarkable and lively sound.
Every song shines but the prize goes to “The Glimpse”. This song was crafted so perfectly, starting with a poignant keyboard line, which is followed up by an excellent lead riff. There’s also a great riff which sounds like something out of the first Dawn album (Naer Solen Gar Niber For Evogher): a slow, melancholic tremolo strum, violated by the dissonant blastbeats. The song fades away nicely, along with the melodies.
A very worthwhile EP, full of musical talent, recommended for for any metal fan.
In the past French label Adipocere Records has proven to have a keen smell for talent. Bands like Celestial Season, Moonspell, Diabolical Masquerade and Alastis all released their debut albums for this label and none of them got out worse off then they were before they signed. The tragedy however is that because of the labels relatively small resources most of these bands eventually got signed by bigger labels.
I’ll be the first to venture the thought that Taliandorogd will uphold this longstanding tradition. Seldom have I heard such a mixture of North-European Black Metal, Heavy Metal and even some Death Metal!!! This band goes seemingly effortless through six songs filled with beautiful melodies and terrific breaks. Sometimes it’s symphonic like My Dying Bride and sometimes the riffs remind me of the “Wolf Lair Abyss” period of Mayhem sometimes of their fellow countrymen Seth.
And you know what? On paper this looks a bit like a mishmash that would sound a bit stretched and even farfetched. But in reality Taliandorogd show them selves to be excellent songs-smiths and are able to blend all these influences into a hybrid of Black-Heavy-and-a-lot-more-styles-of-Metal without sounding convoluted or like Trend Hoppers. Production wise it all sounds perfect with the small exception that the balance of the guitar and keyboards could have been a bit more in favour of the guitar. The vocals are very cool and sit somewhere in between a Deathgrunt and a Blackscream making them nicely audible.
I hope for Adipocere they’ve got a good contract that includes more albums so they’ll be able to enjoy the success I think this band will have.
(this review was originally written for www.lordsofmetal.nl and is republished here with kind permission of the webmaster)