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A Better Dose of Anguish - 75%

doomknocker, July 10th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, Digital, Independent

When last I left this Serbian melodeath horde, they left me somewhat entertained and pleased, even if the creative end result was a bit all over the map and rough around the edges. But even at its most inane there was enough going on for me to understand (if not simply realize) that, given enough time and tempering, they could really make something special. That was the initial belief, anyway, and it's not their fault (entirely) that theirs is a sound that's hard to perfect and make stand out amongst the rest, so on that I couldn't, and still can't, give them any grief. So that said, showing a remarkable amount of consistency , they've unleashed an EP of brand new work for us to feed upon...

After an effectively mood-setting intro piece, we find the sublime anguishers attempting a more compacted approach to their method of extreme metal, one more atmospheric and seemingly black metallic in tone above what I'd originally partook in in "Unveiling the Origin". Tempos are more subdued and middle ground, the central musical framework feels riff-driven and darker and an increase in clean singing over the detaching growling of before has been utilized, which to me sounds far more organic and easy to take in given this kind of thing (there are still guttural utterances, so it's not a complete departure in the end). All that said, and all that put together, "Thornwinged" is through and through a good and, dare I day, pleasant listen that didn't lose me all throughout (something the previous work did here and there). If nothing else, this definitely improves upon the previous album's limitations by way of feeling plentifully cohesive and complete, confident in itself and its own striding creative level with no sense of the confusion that earlier works tended to suffer with/from.

The aesthetics of the EP finds the material easy to get into and plenty clear. There's a lushness to the presentation, a further creative deepening that, while not offering a whole hell of a lot under its surface, will at the very least entertain those of the melodic persuasion of extreme metal. Even when the band is off mark (which happens on occasion, of course...), they're able to find a way to pull it all back in and make the the best of it from that one stumbling point onward. As it's only four tracks long, the length of it is less ideal than you'd like it to be (when you get real deep into the tracks and find that the embracing keyboard outro in "Heart of the Void" is the end of it, you're quite surprised and a bit bummed that that's all you're getting from this so far!), but that's really the worst of it. In its more centralized form, "Thornwinged" still delivers some real fantastic goods where it counts, and if it's what you're looking for in the end then this will certainly please.

At the end of the day this was a serious improvement over the "Unveiling...", with a few more steps of stylistic growth still needing to be taken before they can unleash something to seriously sink your fangs into. Next album, maybe? Is this a precursor to that? More on this as it develops.