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why - 7%

Peyp, April 15th, 2017

Funny story, I took a break halfway through this album and listened to some LT Rhapsody, and when I came back to this album and noticed the comparison it made me want to cry.

While ACTUAL symphonic black metal bands with TALENTED musicians were creating real music and changing how metalheads thought of the genre (such as Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, Satyricon, Limbonic Art), at the same time some group of drunken loons calling themselves "Hermh" decided to pound away on a drum set and synthesizers while chanting or screaming slurred vocabulary into the microphone right next to them. And I swear to God, someone was on a kazoo as well, because if that's not what I hear during "The Hour of the Witching Dance" around the 1:29 mark, then this is the worst mixing I've ever heard. Or some of my brain cells have been killed off by listening to this abomination.

Oh right, and I think the guitar becomes audible every once in a while.

I wish I could over exaggerate how awful this album is, but I don't know how to bash it more than I already have. And no, I don't think any of the above was exaggeration; it really sounds like that. But I suppose I should start form the beginning.

The first thing that astounded me about this album was the intro. It's completely incoherent, and some guy's moaning of the whole thing, which I guess is supposed to be atmospherical, but can't even be compared to what bands like Batushka, Emperor, or Cult of Fire can do with their haunting chants. Also, the intro kind of felt... uplifting to me. I understood that they were trying to go for a spooky vibe, but I think if I took a clip from the parts of the intro that didn't include the godawful chants, and then lined it up with a shot of a sunny field or clouds in a blue sky on a sunny day, it would feel quite at home.

My biggest complaint came next. The moment I heard the song without any dumbass screaming or "singing" into it, I realized that it sounded so clean and so "NOT evil" that it feels like it came from the soundtrack of a terrible video game from one of those 90s consoles nobody remembers (think Atari Jaguar, 3DO, or CD-i). I guess in order to show how "trve kvlt" the band was, they just HAD to mix it to sound like shit. Unfortunately, it's not the GOOD shitty mixing that landmark albums attempt to obtain. Instead of being greeting with a wall of sound violating my eardrums, the album almost feels flowery, mostly because the guitar's riffs are way too basic to even slightly recall, and also because they are sometimes BARELY AUDIBLE. This album doesn't give the impact a black metal album should have. And I'm not going to let this slide because it's symphonic. Symphonic black metal tracks, even some of the most orchestra-overloaded ones, have more harshness than this. Even Dimmu Borgir's For All Tid sounds better than this; not a favorite album of mine, but the guitars are always audible and generally have an upfront position, and the synths don't attempt to drown everything else, all while still keeping a lo-fi quality. If For All Tid can successfully pull off what Taran tries to do, I don't see how I can possibly justify how shitty the mixing on this album is.

I've already alluded to how terrible the singing and screaming is. Let's just put it like this: the singing sounds like an old drunk with anxiety issues getting head while being tortured; and the screaming is just that, but in screaming form. Every once in a while, it also sounds like there's a woman being pleased while under a mind-control spell and motion sickness. She kind of fades in and out of every song, sort of like ".......aaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaa.......................aaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaa.........AAAAAAAAAA". I'm glad she doesn't exist in every song, but it'd be better if she just wasn't there. Or if all of the vocals just weren't there. Then I could listen to what sounds like the soundtrack to a mediocre 90s game, plus guitars (and believe me, even that would be an improvement).

Oh yes, the guitars. I've already ranted about how basic the riffs are, how pushed back behind every other sound they are, and just overall how forgettable the experience is. But I haven't mentioned that sometimes they're right up front and they BLARE right into your face, and in those times they sound completely AWFUL. They don't even sound like guitars! It's more like a kazoo, or a balloon losing all of the air inside of it, or a mix between a saxophone and a bumblebee. It's just UNBEARABLE.

I guess you could listen to it if you wanted a good laugh, because this is one of the stupidest albums I've heard, and it really can't be taken as anything else besides a joke. It's For All Tid, but by people with no talent, songwriting intellect, and experience with mixing and producing. Go listen to some other album, maybe a symphonic masterpiece like In the Nightside Eclipse. Hell, ANYTHING is a symphonic masterpiece compared to this pile of shit. I'm sorry for a review this scathing, but I see no way to defend this album, except ironically.

Favorite songs: First Knight of Nothingness, solely because it isn't metal and thus the overbearing synths are somewhat called for and guitar isn't mixed to sound like a kazoo or a balloon

Least favorite songs: Pretty much everything else, but standouts are Golden Sea and Rising Tears