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Emperor's new clothes? - 84%

Daemonlord, July 17th, 2011

I think it's fair to say that Poland have more than their fair share of quality death and black metal bands, and with Vesania boasting members of Behemoth and Vader in their ranks, it's not hard to see where the highly proficient abundance of musical guile comes from on this, their debut album.

This could almost be a lost mid-period Emperor album, if it were not for the slightly less progressive guitar gymnastics, whilst still maintaining the tone of black metal from the farthest reaches of skull crushing, well honed and produced extreme metal soundscapes. This is pretty far from an overindulgent Dimmu-like release, or even an under-cooked Darkthrone-like affair as you can get in 'black' metal, managing to push the album's sonic boundaries into the realms of a more synth-drenched death metal Myrkskog, whilst retaining its ingrown blackened sensibilities. Spattered with atmospheric sections, the album boasts generally long track lengths each taking you on a sonic journey, ranging from face-removing sandblaster sections, to slower, flesh burning monolithic Aeternus-esque destruction. There's a fair bit of Zyklon-like futurism interweaved into the general crushing black/death, with intelligent riffs embedded deep into the song structures, adding a strong sense of dynamics to the fold, which when coupled with the strong but not overpowering usage of synthesizer can (at times) sound really impressive.

The only reason I didn't give this a higher mark is that, for me, it's a little long for the intensity of the music on display. If they could've shaved maybe ten minutes of unneeded padding here and there, it'd have been a much more intensive, enjoyable listen. However, that said, it is still a completely worthy album which would strengthen any extreme metal fan's collection.

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