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An embarrassing blast from the past - 30%

Noktorn, June 12th, 2011

Oof. Full Moon Productions. Not off to a great start. And a Danish black metal EP from '98 that served as a tombstone for a band with only demos before? Yeesh. This is gonna hurt. AND only two of the tracks are black metal? The other three are ambient pieces including intro, outro, and interlude?

Oh man. We've got some High Art on the loose.

Let's get these done right off the bat: all the ambient stuff cannot be defended. They sound like they were taken off a Cradle of Filth album, and I don't mean a good one. They're cheesy, lame, and poorly composed- the intro with its wailing souls and DRAMAPIANO, the interlude with its cringe-inducing recitation of Lord Byron, and the outro with its... more wailing souls and more piano. They're terrible, no-good, very bad pieces that do nothing but make this music that much more embarrassing to listen to.

But let's move on to the two black metal tracks instead. 'When Coldness Wraps This Suffering Clay' starts off mildly promising with its flurry of blasts and textured tremolo riffs, but then drops into a godawful rock passage and basically stays in a holding pattern there for the rest of the song, broken up only by a tiny handful of uptempo passages dotted throughout the interminably long running time of the song. The band is transparently unable to actually WRITE an eight and a half minute song, so they do the next best thing: combine random halves of about five other songs and pray to god the listener doesn't notice how incongruous and abrupt everything this. The riffs are artificial, alternating between Emperor ripoff tremolo riffing or Darkthrone circa 'Total Death'-ripoff chug riffing, and neither is particularly satisfying, nor are the lurking background synths that... just kind of sit there, not doing anything. The real thing that kills this is that there are faint glimmers of hope when the band is blasting and playing aggressive riffs- you know, actually playing black metal instead of lightly jogging in place with clean guitar sections and rock beats. But whatever. 'Memento Mori' fares no better, really, with its dramatic, ostentatious, slow riffs derived from old Enslaved but with the pop amped up. The female vocals that pop up on this track do little to dissuade me from the Cradle of Filth comparison- the only difference is that band was a hell of a lot more memorable than these guys ever were.

I would call this a historical footnote, but that would mean they actually made it into a book somewhere.