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Inferno Requiem > 幽冥夜怪話 (Gloomy Night Stories) > Reviews
Inferno Requiem - 幽冥夜怪話 (Gloomy Night Stories)

Weird as shit but pretty cool - 72%

Noktorn, March 23rd, 2010

The guitar tone on this is really irritating once it hits the three highest strings or thereabout. The lower strings are fine; you notice the intensely digital sound very quickly but it's not as grating, but god forbid some lead guitar come in, in which case your ears will be tortured by what sounds like unbearably thin, mildly melodic white noise. No worse does this come out than on 'Sick Fog', where throughout the song the high-pitched lead guitar is placed to the left and the tolerable rhythm to the right. It's a major production flaw which really damages the album.

This is unfortunate because 'Gloomy Night Stories' is one of the better, more curious black metal releases I've heard recently. Inferno Requiem has a rather peculiar sense of melody that expands on Nordic melodic black metal conventions with a combination of almost post-rock melodies (not as terrible as it sounds, I promise) and sheerly dissonant, chaotic tremolo scribbling. 'Dangling Piggsy' is perhaps the best track; you really get to hear all the variation in this perplexing little one-man project's music, but moreover, you get to hear what sole member Fog is best at: simple, melodic riffs over a very strange, intuitive drum performance and vomiting, shrieking vocals. As you would expect, this is quite an interesting record.

This is one of those releases where it feels like the musician behind it understands what black metal is, but has personal idiosyncrasies in his style of songwriting that make it sort of a step sideways from what you would normally think black metal sounds like. This comes out most fully in the drums: they're fairly on time but clearly not trained in any professional sense, as some of the beat choices and very questionable fills easily point out someone who is clearly just doing the best they can with what they know. The songwriting and structures are surprisingly rich for a one-man project; a lot goes on in these tracks, with sudden shifts in rhythm or melodic key coming across as impulsive but not lazy, and the overall mood of the release really replicating the sort of strange Asian folk traditions you might witness on the cover of the album.

'Gloomy Night Stories' is a relatively raw black metal release (though much of the music is quite melodic), and the production is poor enough that I can't really recommend it for fans of cleaner, more 'normal' black metal, but the dedicated fan of the genre will probably find something here worth investigating. It's the sort of album that deserves a solid five listens; I don't think you'll really be able to wrap your head around it with any fewer, as the overall vibe of the music is just so far from what you normally get from European black metal. Definitely worth a look, though your appreciation of this will likely vary wildly depending on personal taste.