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To Stray From Darkness Or Not? - 45%

GuyOne, March 6th, 2006

Don't be fooled by the strange song titles or the strange cover. This album is chaulked full of black metal goodness. The atmosphere is still dark and grim (at parts) thanks to the vocals and added keys.... But the keys also add very melodic touches which stray away from the darkness.

The fast riffs keep the album moving along at full speed, though some of the leads sound more melodic death than melodic black. At some points the guitars are too low to really add anything to the music and the leads are a little too loud. The drumming works well with the album. The blast beats come in often and are half decently performed. The keys really add to the atmosphere trying to be created here. It stands out greatly during 'Under The Cloak Of Darkness' which gives it a very melodic (less black) feel. While the outro to 'From Behind The Black Rainbow' adds progressive depth to the slower black metal feel.

Letting the keys lead the music on 'Ardor For Euphoria' leaves you wondering where the band is trying to go here. As the album moves along it strays away from its black metal roots that it let surface at the beginning. Still as each song progresses through it is very tough to tell the direction the band wants to go in. Which could be why the album doesn't have much of a black metal look too it.

'Intermezzo: Channel 352' could have been a great acoustic instrumental piece if it wasn't for the constant 'speaker-breaking' it caused to my stereo. It sounds as though the treble was turned too loud. Much for my own liking... I was forced to turn my stereo down to the point where when the next song started I could barely hear it.

Three songs in the middle of this album made me completely forget I was even listening to music. They were boring, uninspired tracks that seemed to want to progress... But maybe in the wrong direction. Bringing almost epic viking-style keys into songs that use to be black metal but didn't have enough grim left in them to continue along.

The songs that actually are black metal are actually half decent. 'An Abstract Of Inertia', 'Under The Cloak Of Darkness', and 'Spacepenetrator' all have black metal elements. Maybe not throughout their entire lengths but enough. It is just too bad the band couldn't stick to that melodic black metal feel without drifting off into an unknown direction.