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energetic and sorrowful - 90%

odradek, March 26th, 2007

Though only four tracks, "Vox Clamentis" is perhaps Algaion's finest work. It's fast paced black metal bathed in a depressing atmosphere, but one generated without the use of keyboards. Contrasting elements contribute to the rich sound: the energetic rhythm section output is balanced by grim, droning vocals; and the clarity of the drum track is a textural counterpoint to the reverb laden guitars and vocal parts.

The guitar work provided by Mathias Kamijo is nothing flashy, but evokes memorable melodic lines by use of a two-part harmony of slow moving, tremolo-picked riffs. Peter Tägtgren's drumming is vivid and relentless, and tasteful variations in the drum pattern at measured intervals throughout each song keep the listener intrigued while the melodic themes cycle. The tracks are veritably haunted by Mårten Björkman's anguished vocals; the lyrics make no effort to keep up with the underlying music, but resonate at their own tempo.

The overall aesthetic is a bit reminiscent of Gorgoroth's early works, with a bit more precise musicianship but also a bit more predictable song structure. Algaion's art also differs in the predominant emotion conveyed by the music. Vigorously as the rhythms are played, there is still an air of sadness that pervades this album. The sorrow of the vocals is heightened by riffs that feel to be constantly descending, with sustained notes that resist but ultimately succumb to the downfall.

"Vox Clamentis" is a well-executed work of stirring black metal. Algaion's follow up release "General Enmity" has a similar feel, with a bit more variety in composition, and a more polished sound as well, and is also very good.