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Album Noir! - 92%

MikeyC, February 10th, 2007

Is it just me, or does this album feel really dark? If this album was a film, it would be a dark film, or film noir. As it is, if it were a film, it would be pale in comparison to this album.

To be honest, when I bought this album, I didn’t have any high hopes for it. I had heard the first track, “Downward Spiral Into Madness”, and thought it was okay, but nothing great. I saw the album, thought “oh, what the hell?”, and bought it. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised at what I heard.

So, what makes this album portray its darkness? Probably the guitars. Anyone who knows anything about death metal, or metal in general, would know that the guitars are (mostly) deep and crushing. While there are some deeper notes scattered throughout, they aren’t limited to that, keeping the listener intrigued by adding high chords everywhere. There are two guitarists, and they both play very well. I might add that an untrained ear wouldn’t distinguish what guitar is playing what riff, as they both mold together in a way that is separate from their other metal counterparts. This gives the music an extra dimension, and keeps the album unique from other death metal releases.

The vocals are another reason of the darkness. They aren’t taking the limelight by any means. In fact, they are almost obscured by the atmosphere of the music. This is definitely not a bad thing, because his growling, throaty vocals are distinguishable, but not overpowering. Fredrik’s vocals really fit in with the music, too, leaving more darkness and emptiness in the atmosphere.

The drumming…superb. What more can I say? This guy is awesome behind the kit. The short instrumental “Children’s Laughter” brings out the best in his double-bass work, and he pulls it off with perfection. His drumming is great all over the album.

No other song on the album can match track 3, “Better Grieved Than Fooled”. It is the best track here, and probably in the top 20 tracks I’ve heard. Why? Two reasons. One: between 1:49 and 5:11 is just instrumental. No vocals. The music starts off slow and simple and ends with the main riff of the song. I noticed it the first time I heard it, and was amazed/surprised, which brings me to the next reason. Two: it’s completely unpredictable. How many bands do something like that? Not many. Music needs to be unpredictable like this so there’s a reason to replay it.

Well, I’ve had my opinion, but don’t just read it…go out and buy it! If you want death metal with a difference, check this out. But even everyone else can get into it, as it’s just a really great, dark album.

Best tracks: Better Grieved Than Fooled, I Would Dream Of Blood, The Conductor’s Departure.