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Woah. Astounding Melancholic French Black Metal - 96%

Akerfeldt_Fanboi, August 4th, 2008

This album was recommended to me off of the internet, and I had given Leviathan a listing for recommendations and when they listed this band under "melancholic French style" I was expecting a Leviathan clone, but French.

Boy, was I sadly mistaken.

This album is misery defined into music. Nukto's howls of despair and agony are intense and insane to say the least. Now, before I start on Nukto's mastery, I'll just go into the whole review...

Firstly, the only con is maybe the faulty drum sound every very once and awhile, and the lack of the beautiful clean breaks.

Now...for the pros of the album. This album proves to be nothing short of genius. This album represents what depressive black metal can sound like, unlike Leviathan's mix of ambient music (which is very awesome as well) Mortifera have a very obvious sound. Slow, doomy, with various blast-away parts, but doomy and melancholic mostly throughout. The clean guitar tone is much more sophisticated than the usual black metal tone they have, which is excellent as well. The albums guitar tracks are nothing short of agonized despair formed into a sound bit. Nukto either has a knack for sorrowful tunes, or he spent days working on each riff. Hopefully the first, but hey. Now, the bass. Normally, for a black metal release, I'd say inaudible but the bass on Vastiia Tenebrd Mortifera is clear as day. And, the best part is it's very excellent work as well. Reminds of a certain Judas Iscariot, only more refined and less blasty. The drums, while we're on that bit, are excellent indeed. Nothing short of redefining what a black metal drummer should be able to do. Mix interesting beats, fills, and rides with blasting and double bass reliance.

Now, onto the obvious point of agony, fear, despair, and intensity: The vocals. Nukto is, in my book, one of the greatest black metal vocalists I've heard in a LONG time. His intensley high-pitched rasp is deadly fierce and occaisionally he gets to falsetto range intensities and just rapes your ear, for the better. He is not high pitched and annoying in the Dani Filth sense, but is raw, savage and crazy as hell in his wailing and screeching. I cannot tell what the hell he's saying, but it's most likely depressing so I normally try and decipher it myself, which is fun with these kinds of intense vocals.

Alright, I will flat out say this as well: Epologue d'une Existence de Cyrssthal is the most beautiful thing I've ever heard come from a black metal guitarist, and almost a metal guitarist (Mikael Akerfeldt wins that with Requiem from the album, Orchid). The simplicity (well, in how slow it is, the chords aren't exactly power chords) and brooding tempo mixed with the occaisional progression of happiness and/or epic"ness" create an astounding track. The dark moments are counterbalanced with the beautiful moments, then again with the downtrodden, sorrowful lines. This track shows Leviathan up in their ambient category with Nukto's own creativity and beautiful musical ideas.

In short, this album is recommended to any fan of music with an emotive sound and even more so to people who love depressive metal. This album could also be for any black/doom/Beherit fans. This album stylistically paves a path for melodic/depressing black metal, in the same way Immortal forged a path for non-satanic Norwegian black metal bands, all those years ago. This album will crush your spirit and make you lie in a hole and/or ditch for several hours.

Favorite Songs: Can't really pick, but Epologue d'une Existence de Cyrssthal is definitely near the top. La Revenant is also brilliant. To put it in shortword; this album contains no bad songs, and no bad lines, and every song works off the other in a concept album style.

Favorite bits, though? Easily the doomy tremolo/chorded parts and the clean moments. Those are just beautiful and inspiring.

Easily one of the best black metal albums I've heard, and definitely the best French black metal release I've ever heard.