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Overlooked and forgotten for a reason - 65%

morbert, March 14th, 2019

In between their very inconsistent second album ('Sentenced' 1995) and their rebirth as 'Outburst' in 1998, Acrostichon released one last promo featuring three originals. I've had these songs for decades on tape as being a 1997 promo but M.A. set the record straight by posting the cassette sleeve which clearly states 1996. Doesn't matter really.

Acrostichon have clearly been a band of three eras. The most famous original 1989-1993 era, the 'directionless' 1994-1997 era and of course thirdly the reunion since 2009. In a nutshell; what can be said about this tape and the album 'Sentenced' a year earlier is that both just are not as interesting as their 1990-1993 releases.

Was that because Schouten, who wrote the majority of the old material was missed? Maybe.
It's not that the rest of the band couldn't write great tracks because 'Victims' was a truly great Acrostichon song which was not penned by Schouten but apart from 'Victims' and the title track the best songs on the 'Sentenced' album were in fact 'Snapshot', 'Pain' and 'Forgotten' which were all Schouten penned tracks who had left the band before recording the album. Songs like 'Guilt', 'Sleepless', 'Scarred' and 'Shelter' were just very mediocre with a touch of Scandinavian wiffle death metal.

'Promo 1996' had only three tracks but still is too long too be interesting. Opener 'Spineless' is by far the most interesting song, pretty diverse and lots of changes in pace. Still it's no 'Relics' nor 'Victims' in terms of catchiness or great riffs. It could've been a more than decent cut on the Sentenced album though.

The other two songs 'Negative Edge' and 'The Bleeder' are unfortunately rather dull. There are no standout moments or riffs. Missing are parts where the band goes full speed or ultra doom. There's a doom part in 'Negative Edge' but not even a good one, riffwise. And 'The Bleeder' starts with the most boring riff in Acrostichon history. And that's the biggest issue with the entire tape to be honest: The band is good but the riffs just aren't that great this time. The songs here just stay safely in the middle becoming rather harmlessly mediocre.

Production? Who cares, it's a promo. You shouldn't be interested in production that much. But it's actually pretty damn close to what Sentenced sounded like.

If you're a diehard collector and you want to find this tape, go ahead. But I wouldn't advise it. It's just not that great.