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Good Symphonic Black - 87%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, June 18th, 2008

There was a period, few years ago, when I was quite into symphonic black metal. I tried to discover the greatest number of groups in this genre and once I read a review of this album on a fanzine. I was curious and I bought it. On the review they said that they were very good at playing symphonic black metal without resulting a faded copy of more famous bands like Dimmu Borgir or Cradle Of Filth and I must admit that is partially true.

When you play this genre, it’s impossible not to take some influences from the founders of such young kind of black metal. Anyway, the group’s personality is quite strong and avoids in resulting excessively attached to the origins, always being able to fill their music with quite personal sounds and melodies that can embrace the gothic genre or some almost depressive parts. The keyboards, of course, are the main element for the melody in the songs while the guitars are just here to accompany and give a fundament to the sound.

For example in “King Of The Dark Side” there is a good blend of spectral keyboards parts with some breaks that reminded me a bit For All Tid, the Dimmu Borgir’s debut. The piano parts are excellent and quite new for this genre at the time and when some blast beats break in, the atmosphere is even darker. The vocals are not excessively extreme but more suffered and expressive. The production, itself, is very good to me because it’s not too clean and conserves a bit the raw black metal touch for the bass drum sound and for the raspy guitars.

The female vocals, united to the clean male chorus, finally come on “Sleepless Souls” with a great, tragic but melodic refrain and on the title track at the end. Here the gothic influences are more audible over the black metal carpet created by the instruments. It’s good to notice also how much the length of the various songs can’t result as an obstacle to enjoy the melodies. Each track has the main keyboard passages that can be remembered and recognized anytime you listen to them.

These melodies are mostly obscure with some classic overtures like in the intro to “En Trone Vevd Av Tid”, but the main point is to create a Satanic, obscure feeling that binds each song on this album. The main black metal influences suffer a bit from the Dimmu Borgir spectrum but the originality doesn’t lack in Mactatus. I can recommend this album to the classic lovers of the symphonic black metal genre because you can listen to a really good band.