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A Bold Experiment - 73%

eetfuk666, March 27th, 2013

“Silent Leges Inter Arma”, a phrase taken from one of Cicero’s most famous quotes, is loosely translated to mean “Under the weapons, the laws keep silent”. Most likely this was the inspiration behind German band Silent Leges Inter Arma's new self-titled album, of which fans and new listeners alike will garner to see if the band's music can really is a “weapon”.

The first track “We Are” showcases the band’s heavy style and intricate technicality, and one immediately has the impression that this band does not think much of playing safe. Seeing as the band identify themselves as “modern European black metal”, this is certainly a good fit as the band exudes an atypical, unique, and ever-evolving approach to black metal in which the influences of other genres, most notably punk and death metal, can be heard.

The bass intro for “We Are” hangs on an almost punk formula that stirs up emotions of anticipation. However, by the time the guitars crash in, you are sure that you’re listening to a black metal record with each musician playing all varieties of black metal styles throughout the album coupled with a dose of brutality that, to put it simply, gives the entire album a real feeling of death in the air and blackness lurking.

One of the defining features of the “death and blackness” of this album is definitely the vocals, performed by M:F. One can only imagine what those initials stand for, but the mystery surrounding the actual names of the members are clouded by their sheer, raw talent and energy. The growls and screeches M:F performs are by far some the best I’ve heard from an underground act, especially since he provides an abundance of surprises in the form of death metal-influenced vocals and even clean vocals during “For The Dead”. However, the vocals do get repetitive after awhile and the clean section during “For The Dead”, despite being a bold departure, was not completely effective.

For me, however, the most impressive thing about this album is the guitars, especially the solos. The band tends to get very progressive in their style of playing and where they derive their influences from, and this can be heard obviously when the solos come into play. The technical work and speed in the solos do not overshadow the melody or the flow of the song, maintaining the integrity of the general feel of each track.

“Falcon-Headed One” proved to be my favorite with its rock-ish intro and sudden burst of tightly-performed and insane-tempo drums and chugging guitars. “Shades” was a pleasant surprise, an escape from the general dark and mysterious aura of black metal, pummeling listeners into the realm of, among all things, acoustic folk. Yes, as the fifth track in the album, “Shades” provides for a nice atmospheric breather with a distinctly European influence. It’s a great track to close your eyes to and think of brave Germanic warriors and village people who died for their lands.

Silent Leges Inter Arma is not afraid to take its listeners for a ride. There is an eclectic mix of punk, death, black metal, and folk throughout the album that provides for a liberating experience of violent headbanging accompanied by serene relaxation.

While the band is stepping past the boundaries and proving to be unconventional and original, purists may find their latest effort to be a frustrating listen. However, I highly doubt that the band released this album to please purists – it seems more like a labor of love. This is an exciting band with an exciting new release, brimming with the potential to produce even more exciting material. They are definitely one to watch and their music is definitely a weapon of massive effect.

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