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If we're going to give a brief overview of what you can expect me to be writing about here, I'm basically going to say that this isn't as good as their last release and how it's disappointing and that kind of thing. Anyone reading this that hasn't heard Lake of Sorrow is advised to listen to that album first and then try this if you've really got nothing better to do.
Hands down the best thing about this band is their inclusion of violins. Pete Johansen really adds another dimension to the music that not many others capitalise on. Sadly he isn't utilised as well on this record as he was on the band's other release and instead we find the violin's playing to be more sparse and spread out. That kills part of the appeal instantly, but there are many other things that play their part too.
The first thing that makes this album so much poorer is the vocals. Last time around there were the same three vocalists, but only two seemed to feature in the music at all. This time the third singer gets his time to shine... and decides that using a black metal snarl would fit nicely. It does not. In fact it pretty much wrecks the feelings that were created, unlike the female cleans and the deeper growls. I have a problem with the witchy cackles that the woman decides to use a few times across this album too. I can't comprehend why they're there and they feel more than a little bit too forced. It's clear that they don't really belong there either, just like the random spoken lines that seem to pop up out of nowhere.
When I mentioned the snarls ruining the emotional side of things, that isn't actually too much of a problem, simply because there isn't much to be destroyed. Compared to the songs on Lake of Sorrow these ones sound as if there's no effort to draw anything from the listener. The atmosphere just sounds so subdued, and considering that The Sins of Thy Beloved are reliant on drawing emotions from their audience, a very large hole in their appeal has been created.
While there aren't any stand out moments in terms of being good, the band's attempt to cover Metallica's The Thing That Should Not Be is very poor. The growls don't work very well and neither does the doomy take on the song, and even if it is interesting to hear the violin playing the parts that Kirk Hammett originally played as the lead, the whole thing just doesn't do anything for me. Not that it was a great choice of song to cover, because it's not a particularly interesting Metallica song.
When I started writing this I was expecting to give a score of around 70%, but now that I'm done I realise that I can't give it that high a rating. I'd recommend Lake of Sorrow to absolutely anyone, but I'm afraid that Perpetual Desolation deserves absolutely nothing.
People have very mixed feeling about these guys (Not just here, but everywhere.) I own this CD and have listened several times, and though I do love it, I am prepared to critically dissect it.
Getting to the bad stuff first...
First off, the lyrics are horrible. One of the biggest reasons is poor English i.e. "with a torn in my heart" "never to talk and never to walk no more." Also, they like to over use words "In thine dark mournful eyes, I see captivity in thy eyes, obscurity enswathes this temptress the moonlight shines in ye eyes." The lyrics are just downright cheesy in spots too. The Title track and The flame of Wrath probably have the best lyrics, but even those aren't perfect.
Also, Anita Auglend's vocals are promising, but she is way too theatrical at times. Her Witch's cackles toward the end of Flame of Wrath are just funny. Even worse is her sillilloquy in Partial Insanity. "I used to flee safe..." That is just horrible. It's like a bad drama student trying to win over a director with corny theatrics rather than substance. I hope whoever they find to replace her will drop the drama queen act.
Those two things are the only real problems I have with this album. I do wish the guitars played more a role in the music than the keyboards though. The keyboards aren't bad, but I'd like to hear more guitar solos like at the end of the title track. People have a problem with the violins in most of the reviews I've read. I like the violin. I think it's presence gives the music something mysterious. At times the solos do get a little long, but that doesn't bother me too much.
The male vocals are excellent. Glenn Nordbo growls like a demon, yet he also manages to be pretty intelligible most of the time. Arrild Christensen's anguished screams don't hurt either.
Despite my criticisms, I do love this album. A few things about it could be better, but perfection is hard to come bye.
This is not as terrible an album as I'll make it seem - it's better, but not by too much; it has it's highlights. However, it's the album's numerous low points that make it a major disappointment and it's almost sad that the vast majority of songs on this album comprise, mostly, of those so-called low points.
The vocals are very good. The MALE vocals are, anyway. They are intense (even though inconsistently so) and when both male vocalists combine their voices, one cannot help but feel overwhelmed by the power of Death Metal styled vocals that merge with Black Metal vocals. It's truly amazing. Perhaps the best example of this can be found on the Metallica Cover, "The Thing That Should Not Be." These vocals are, by far, the highlight of this album - they're better than almost everything else and would have sounded even better if the lyrics weren't so cliché and if they were constructed in a less abrasive manner. You see, the lyrics affected the vocal delivery which, made the
Even though the female vocalist, Anita Auglend, can sing fairly well, her vocals do not compliment the music. At times they even sound completely out of tone and, thus, out of place. What's worse is that this woman sometimes makes the strangest noises – ridiculous, indescribable, idiotic noises, an example of which are found on "The Flame of Wrath." Simply put, it's gross overkill. Even worse than that (yes, it does get worse!!), is that she sometimes makes these noises and talks at the same time! If you plan to listen to this album, which I strongly advise against, you would do well to listen to "Partial Insanity" for this. "Now, I'm all alone...."
The guitars are not note worthy in the least as there are not many stand out riffs or solos or, anything at all, really. At times, one could find that they're not particularly audible, as difficult as that may be to believe. The bass is not at all audible either. The keyboards aren't particularly bad; but, be not mistaken, they do add a particularly cheesy feel to the music; one that is not atypical of the stereotypical Goth movement. Basically, if you're into the type of atmosphere that Cradle of Filth creates, you'll like the keyboards on this album. The drumming, too, is bland. There's not much that can hold the listener's attention for a very long period of time, though the drum work on "Pandemonium" is just a bit better than the rest of drumming on "Perpetual Desolation."
By far, the worst element that can be found within this album is the violin. It is terrible. There are violin solos; there are odd moments when the violin cuts into the music; there are moments when one would expect the violin to play, but would hope that it wouldn't because it's that horrendous. Actually, the songs seem to drone on and on solely for the purpose of allowing the violins to ruin them completely.
Really, there are only two good tracks on this album - "Pandemonium" and "The Thing That Should Not Be;" with the highlights of "Pandemonium" being the drumming and vocal delivery/rhythm and the highlight of "The Thing That Should Not Be" being the male vocals. Note that the greatness of both these elements cannot be said to be constant throughout the respective songs.
Now, the male vocalists would do well to form a new band (maybe new bands) and work on applying their vocals to something of greater merit than The Sins of Thy Beloved can offer. Frankly, it would be great to see/hear them in a Black/Death band. The rating this band got was almost solely based on the fact that the male vocals are much better than everything else that this album showcases.
If you're a fan of good male vocals and listen to music for that express purpose, listen to this band. If you're a fan of cheese and whine, listen to this band. If you're a fan of a terrible violin sound, by all means, listen to this band. If you're a fan of albums that are far longer than they should be allowed to be, especially when the vast majority of the songs on said album are simply too redundant, then give this a listen! However, if you're looking for good music, run away. Now.
This is the second album of The Sins of thy beloved. Compared to their debut album, there is no change in substance, also some beautiful and sorrowful gothic doom music. But they make a little alteration, which cause their music heavier and stronger, sounds more abundant.
In their first albums, the guitar riff and the male growl are all beneath and behind anita¡¯s heavenly voice. But in this album, they become more prominent and get to constitute a major part of their music. So the music itself gets more close to the metal works, the guitar riff and the drum beat are strong, the black metal style growl is clear, interspersed by the keyboard and the violin. Anita also plays an important role, but in this album, her voice is not the musical groundwork any more, but still cooperates with other instrument and male vocal excellently. I think for some traditional-metal-listener, this album is more acceptable and more euphonic. But be frankly, I think it has weakened the emotional expression in their first album. The album has become more gorgeous and more plentiful, but certainly the strong-tempo tampers some subtleness in their work.
But doubtlessly, this album is an excellent gothic metal album. The use of gothic element beside a kind of black metal music is outstanding, and creates the band¡¯s own phase in the gothic metal world.
When the symphonic variant of gothic metal made it's rise, Sins of thy Beloved were part of the first wave of the gothic metal explosion with Lake of Sorrow.
That album was impressive to me as it featured 2 gruff vocalists (1 growl + 1 grunt) and a clean female vocalist, and 2 people on keyboards. Even though I was easy to impress back then, it was a good album, with it's sorrowfull violins and melancholical drama.
This album however, they took a slightly different turn. Still with the vocalists and keyboardists plus violins this album already overwhelms the listener at the first spin. Over the top, and massive, every bit of space is used in the sound. It's all over the place. You can audibly hear SotB tried to push the boundaries of gothic metal and tried to transcend it.
What I noticed was the use of electronics; slight vocal distortion on the gruff vocals, techno-effects on the synths (track 4), even an appearance of a 'robotic' voice at the end of a track. After a couple of listens, this doesn't bother me at all though, it seemingly complements the sounds perfectly.
The violins, which gave me a slight headache on the first album, are used to much effect on this album, in various roles. Same for the synths; from sound layer to haunting melodies to vocal powerbooster.
The overall sound on this album can be described as their last album, but with a slight leaning to the Kovenant - Animatronic sound.
I know this isn't an album you'd want your sound compared to but it describes the guitar sound well. Another thing that could be said to be slightly similar to Animatronic is the fact that although it's overwhelming and kick-ass at first, that experience wanes over time with repeated listens.
This isn't total fastfood like Animatronic however, and I dare say this is one of the better gothic metal albums around; at least in the over-the-top drama and theatrics category (damn the way that female vocalist moans in some of the songs..). I just wish they hadn't done the Metallica cover though (The Thing That Should Not Be...quite literally). Although on paper it might sound like a good idea to do an over-the-top version of a Metallica song with violins, grunts and moany female vocals, in practice it's not.