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Mystical, Creative, Powerful - 96%

AmiralMauth, February 21st, 2014

The Veil of Osiris is one of the most creative black metal albums I have ever listened to. This is quite a statement, especially given my familiarity with other masterpieces that pushed the boundaries of the genre when released. But let me try to qualify it.

It's very rare that one comes across an album in which everything--the vocals, the guitars, the percussion, and even the bass--comes together so perfectly. Complicated riffing doesn't crowd out vocals or rapid-fire drumming; vocals don't steal the limelight from the guitar's distorted shrieks and mystical solos; and all the while, percussion is there to form a stable, powerful base for the rest of the music to rest upon.

One of black metal's trademark patterns is repeated guitar patterns that are often tremolo-picked and so heavily distorted that they become a wall of noise. Children of Mäani follows this style to a degree. Distortion is there, but it's not so heavy that the intricacies and subtelties of each guitar part are lost. The result is the perfect showcase for the band's lone member (!!!) to push the limits of his guitar and compositional skills. Countless times this album has made me feel like I'm hurtling through unknown distances of the cosmos, and the guitars are a big reason for the power Childre of Mäani has over me. There are a lot of black metal bands out there that have shitty guitar solos, or few solos at all, or who step into nu metal or other genres for inspiration for what should be chilling, powerful, mind-opening passages. Children of Mäani's riffing is precisely what black metal guitar should be; even masters like Infernus from Gorgoroth can learn from this album.

Vocals aren't the shrieked screams that masters like Hat of Gorgoroth of Malefic of Xasthur can produce. These vocals are more like death growls, with the occasional rasped scream that makes me wonder if Vindsval ever had any contact with LLN, also from France. I have little to no idea what the lyrics are about, but this has never stopped me from enjoying metal before. The voice work is powerful and persuasive, especially when it interplays with compelling, old-style metal riffs as in the album's third track.

The Veil of Osiris ends like it begins, with complicated riffs and an atmosphere that often makes me lean back in my seat and shut my eyes just to drink it in. Phased/phlanged vocals add to the eerie mystique of this hidden gem, and my only complaint about this diamond in the rough is that it seems to be the first, last, and only real Children of Mäani release. Perhaps Vindsval will return to this act someday, but until then, The Veil of Osiris will remain in a class by itself as one of black metal's most creative releases of all time.