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Fully Evolved? - 70%

Roffle_the_Thrashard, December 29th, 2015

Cursed Cemetery has one of the most interesting and weirdest careers of any black metal and black metal related groups that I've heard. They have had their ups and have definitely had their downs. If you don't believe me, just listen to their debut "album," Dead Souls Madness. That particular album is noise and nothing else. The band soon transitioned to a black metal sound, with some of the ambient elements, as well as some death metal influence on their sophomore album, Linear Black Trees. And now we this, the third album in what is definitely a flawed and distorted career, Chambers of Exile.

I wasn't expecting much to "wow me" on this album given Cursed Cemetery's track record when it comes to making full-lengths, but I was actually completely satisfied with the mood that Chambers of Exile put forth. The aura was exactly what a good, traditional black metal album should feel like: evil when needed, and unquestionably dark. The melancholy factor was strong with this one too, and there was a doom metal sensibility that could be heard with the rest of atmosphere's traits. All of this combined created an almost sophisticated, yet ritualistic album that I will remember for quite some time.

Quite possibly the biggest reason why I'll remember Chambers of Exile is that it's the first doom rock album that I've reviewed for a heavy metal website. Yes ladies and germaphobes, you read that correctly, doom rock. Sure, the traits of the mood here matched-up with that of a black metal release, but the sound was indisputably non-metal. Does that mean it was a bad listen? No, and ironically enough, this is my favorite Cursed Cemetery release, even though that's not saying much. When I say doom rock, the commonplace attributes such as a lightly distorted, brighter-toned line-up of guitars and bass are what I'm referring to. This then means that the drums of this record aren't forceful and beefy in tonal size. Along with all of that, we have the lighter, despairing, and "greyer" melodies and song concepts of doom metal that get sprinkled all over the top of this album (yum) to give it that extra kick and "doom" sound.

And you guessed it; the vocals here are clean, refined, and chanting. Interestingly, the majority of the vocals on this record are female. I'm not a huge fan of female singers in metal. Call me what you wish, but it doesn't work for me. But when it comes to rock, grunge, alternative, and all of their friends, they work very nicely for me, which they did in Chambers of Exile. Whoever sang the female vocal parts did an exceptional job and made this haunting album all the more haunting with the chant-like and (and I'll say it again) ritualistic singing. This vocal style began to become irritating after the fifteen minute-plus tunes that I listened to that could have chopped in half with ease, however.

Despite the definite change in the vocals chosen for Chambers of Exile, some of the same elements remain, like the use of samples (this time kept to a refreshing minimum), and a little bit of ambient noise (see previous sentence fragment in parenthesis). Some of the samples were actually discernable, but they didn't always match up with chosen song titles/themes. I guess that that little problem, and the many other bad, sometimes good, but always weird little problems of Cursed Cemetery and their work will remain without a rhyme or reason, and unlike I usually do I just don't want to know. It's probably better that way. Overall, give Chambers of Exile a listen. It's not that bad.