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Monks will eat your children - 80%

globaldomination, September 2nd, 2008

Being new to the doom genre in general, and a virgin to the ravaging meatflute that is funeral doom, I’m pretty pleased and impressed by this disc. As another reviewer noted though, when you first start listening to this genre every album sounds new and different, but after awhile it all starts sounding exactly the same. Well, I ain’t jaded yet and Pantheist’s “Amartia” has been getting a relentless number of spins. It doesn’t hurt that the little lady enjoys the tunes either, and makes frequent requests for Pantheist immediately followed by requests for epic pantheistic lovemaking. I’m going to use the word pantheistic as much as possible in this review, since I’m so pleased to discover it is in fact a real word.

The dudes from Pantheist (which I thought meant belief in many gods, but apparently means “someone who believes that God and the universe are the same”) all have got some serious doom metal experience under their collective Belgian belts, and look suitably bummed out sitting in a patch of shitty woods on their Metal Archives page. What they do a great job of is creating atmosphere – throughout “Amartia” you feel like you’re inside an evil monastery, where evil monks are busy cooking children, thinking about how to be more pantheistic, and eating the children they previously cooked. Synthesized brooding organs, vocals that alternate between a growl, a Benedictine-monk style chant (at times unintentionally hilarious), and spoken word sections (also hilarious, more on these later), and last but not least the slow but meaty guitar and rhythm section that adds the epic, depressive, heavy, insert overused metal adjective here riffs and drumming that rock in a most funeral manner. Or a most pantheistic manner. I’m not sure.

So let’s talk about the songs themselves. “Amartia” starts out on an awful note with “Apologeia”, a song so-chock full of attempted Benedictineness that laughter is the only possible response. I require a written apologia for this nonsense. At this point, I was nervous that malarkey of this stripe would fill my pantheistic listening experience, but lo and behold, “Gluttony” kicked in. Ahhh, growls. I’m not yet sure what it is about the doom genre, but weak growls seem par for course and are acceptable here. This guy’s vocals actually beat a lot of the admittedly small number of deathdoomsters I’ve heard – he’s got a little gargle in there that adds evoool points. Anyhoo, “Gluttony” is a fat slice of rad – there’s your slow buildup, your quiet, spooky middle section, and then your bizarre but awesome electronica-sounding bits coupled with heavy as fuck guitarwork. “Envy” is also sinfully good (I kill me), with some of the soaring leads that are also prevalent in the genre but remind me of Amon Amarth, the shocking appearance of some double bass, and the requisite keyboard-pretending-to-be-a-pipe-organ. As I recall, “Lust” starts out with an annoying minute or two of the same three notes being played over and over on ye olde Casio, which thankfully gives way to a real song. “First Prayer” is a ridiculous spoken-word type deal, one of many funny spoken parts throughout “Amartia.” A sample of lyrics from “First Prayer”…

Ancient goddess, deity of forgiveness
Please, hear my prayer
Allow me to cleanse my sins
In the pure waters of your sacred river

I suggest replacing these with…

Ancient goddess, deity of deliciousness,
Please, hear my prayer,
Allow me to dip my nacho chips,
In the flowing cheese of your cheddar river.

And so it goes for the rest of the album, except for “Wrath” where they make an attempt at black metal. It sounds a little goofy, but does change up the pace for a funeral doom disc. That’s all there is to say – a good album that may or may not be typical of the style. Fucked if I know. It’s good, go out and get it and think deep and pantheistic thoughts about the death of god and being slothful and shit like that. Did I mention this is a concept album about the seven deadly sins? Guess not. It is, and some of the language comes dangerously close to sounding pro-religion here and there. But wipe the sweat from your brows, faithful worshippers of Baal – they wrap things up with the death of Jeebus’ papa. Pick up “Amartia,” and commit the eighth deadly sin of owning metal albums.

8 pantheistic Belgian waffles out of 10.

Originally posted on: www.globaldomination.se

I Can Hear Potential but Thats It. - 67%

Vega360, October 1st, 2007

It has been a long time since I have listened to any funeral doom. However I am cleaning out the hole I live in and found this CD amongst releases I am deciding weather or not to sell, so I figured I would give it another listen. After about the fourth song, I realized why it ended up in the pile I left it in, this album is decent at best.

Funeral doom is a style that you worship at first, then after a while you realize that the majority of albums are the same exact style repeated over and over. Pantheist however has decided to experiment upon the clichés and make something a little different. They have slowed everything down a lot and structured every single song on Amartia around various keyboard passages. Lyrically they also take it a step further and make a concept album about the seven deadly sins; sounds good right?

Wrong. The band has the right idea, and musically they actually do some very progressive things but everything I mentioned above doesn’t come without a lot of short comings. The lyrics themselves are awful, they sound very cheesy allow me to quote a lyric from the song “Greed”. “To greedily breath the fresh air, to allow it in my hungry lungs and to spit it out transformed as poison.” In comparison to there Vatican themed atmosphere this comes off very cheesy, and a good seventy five percent of these vocals are spoken word so this gets very, very bothersome after sitting through over an hour of it.

Musically the album is only progressive with the keys, everything else is flawed. The riffs are slow, and I mean fucking slow (except on the occasions where everything speeds up, then the riffs get violently fast), everything is tuned down so it sounds like a wall. The bass is almost nonexistent, there are a couple solos but otherwise it gets buried. Any drumming is non existent; songs will go seven to eight minutes before even the slightest bang on the cymbal is herd.

Seeing as everything conventional has been pretty much put aside; the only two things remaining are the vocals and the keys. The vocals are alright, the majority is clean spoken word stuff or religious chanting. Traditional funeral growling is rare, but when it happens it works. Every single song is structured around the keys, these things are mixed over everything (a couple session musicians are credited for various additional instruments, however the only one I could hear was the Organ seeing as it was a song intro, other than that I have no idea if any other instruments were used), and at first it somehow works but after awhile it gets old. The keyboard segments go one of three ways. One; the passages are slow, but upbeat and very monotone, almost ambient. Two; there lavished everywhere to make the music seem for epic, which works in the majority of places but seems repetitive after awhile. Three; depressive, similar to Skepticism, whenever this album aims for a more traditional funeral doom sense, I am reminded of Stromcrowfleet.

If you’re still reading this review (and I said I wanted to make these shorter) I am finally getting to my point. If done right all of progressive keyboard elements and experimental song structures would make a masterpiece of a funeral doom album I would probably play more the once a month, but sadly it doesn’t. After the second track, everything starts decaying and then when the fifth track starts everything just falls to pieces.

The tracks “Pride” as well as “Wraith” sound unfinished, the fifth track is utter filler and everything remaining is simply repeating what the first three tracks were doing. All of the keyboard parts sound rehashed, I’ve had all I could take of the vocals, the lack of bass and drumming make me want to cry and the guitar wall has gotten old fast. This is probably the point but trust me, this gets really bad by the end of the album. My point of this review is to that, after the third track everything is repetitive, meaningless and seems rushed.

The guys behind the band have the right idea musically. I liked the experimental tendencies in the song structure, but this is overkill. The band experimental a little bit and then uses it as a security blanket. Ill probably look for there other releases cheap someplace to see if this was just a stumble in there evolution, or if this is as good as it gets. This album will probably appeal to funeral doom diehards but if you listen to the genre every now and again, save your time and listen to Mournful Congregation or Skepticism.