|Death Metal, Thrash Metal
Metal Mind Productions (2010), Steamhammer / SPV Records
September 20th, 2010 / 1996
Release length: 47:49
Musically, Immortelle is a standard blend of Death Metal and Thrash, even for it’s time. Each song on here sounded heavy and brutal, coming at a somewhat faster pace with some technicallity thrown into the compositions. One thing that really stands out on this release is the bass, which is just loud enough to be heard and easily picked out, which adds a whole other layer to the music. While the bass essentially plays what the guitars are, it adds such a nice kick to the music, almost as if you are listening to a regular guitarist hammering away. While all the performances on this release are clearly done with great excitement and drive, it’s the bass performance on this effort that really stands out as the most energetic aspect. There are some exceptions through the album to some of this, however, such as the track “Silenced”, which is a faster paced track that brings in a more Progressive technical approach to the music, especially in the beginning with the odd guitars that kick off the track. It’s in no way a bad song, and is easily one of the more powerful performances by the band on this recording. Immediately following this song is “Black is the Day”, which clocks in at just over seven minutes, and shows the darker side to the band’s more brutal sound. Unfortunately, the bass performance isn’t quite up to par with “Silenced”, or many other tracks, but the guitars here manage to set a desolate feeling to the song, and it’s simplicity through most of the song causes this song to become an overwhelming burden on the listener, but in a good sense.
One of the things holding the album back a bit is the vocal performance. For the most part, the power in the vocals manages to uphold the general intensity of the album, coming off rather intimidating at times, but that intimidation winds up faltering to simple repetition, the fact that they sound more like you’re listening to a Hardcore release then anything, as well as that they clash somewhat with how deep the music is compared to the pitch of the vocalist. “Unending” makes the perfect example of this. The music of Immortelle has a rather sinister feel to it thanks to it’s rawer production and deep distortion on the guitars, as well as the amplified bass. The pitch of the vocals, however, are much higher then one would expect, and in fact come off like something one would hear on a Pro-Pain album, just without a harmonizations thrown in, sticking to a more monotone approach with some effort once in a while. Granted, the music on this track doesn’t really inspire much to begin with, ultimately sounding rather empty due to the speed and production quality, but the repetition comes in with how the vocals are performed. Much like many of the other tracks, the vocals are done in a traditional slower paced Death Metal style of just a few words, maybe the ending held a little longer, and never really changing the pattern of the performance other then how energetic it is, which in this case is very.
But, with some of the faults holding the recording back, there’s still some fantastic tracks on here. The energy on the song “…Yonder…” is undeniable, and though sometimes the transitioned music can sometimes feel a little forced, and the vocals sometimes clashing with it, the Thrash attitude, as well as random two step segments that go nicely when they appear, and pure energy by the band during this performance is enough to really make thi track stick out and quickly become a favorite off the release. The starting track “In Flames” makes for a great introduction to the album and is a perfectly executed track that blends this band’s Death and Thrash Metal ideas well together to create a blistering and brutal-sounding track. Another song that stands out on this release is the closing track “Theory of Harmony”, which really brings in an early Slayer feel to the sound, as well as is clearly a more Thrash oriented song, which sounds great for the band with the musical atmosphere of the album, as well as the somewhat raw nature of the recording.
There’s many more great tracks to this release, but only one that really comes off a little lacking. “Poets of Dirt” winds up sounding like a rehashed version of “Black is the Day”, but a little slower with a more Droning approach to the music. The problem this time around, aside just feeling like the band recorded a second version of the song sometimes throughout it, is that it is much simpler, and only adds to the repetition of the song. Tack on the length of the song, and you’ll get the feeling this was just a drawn out filler track. Of course, this trend continues with “Native Soil Venus”, which isn’t that bad a track, but doesn’t quite capture any of the positive aspects about the band’s music prior, such as the intimidation in the music, or even the energetic performance for example. While not a bad track, chances are good it will be one that ends up skipped over now and then, or just ignored all together after a short while.
Immortelle is one of six Dew-Scented releases to be reissued in 2010 by Metal Mind Productions, and it is a release that finally got it’s reissue it so rightly needed, as well as deserved. This reissue comes in a digipack case with artwork that has been redone with a different color scheme that is much more appealing to the horrendouns initial cover artwork which meshed blues and reds with the band logo in yellow, and is strictly limited to two thousand copies pressed. While not a remastered album, the CD comes printed on a gold disc, but it does still sound a little nicer due to this. The new digipack format also allows for liner notes about the album that come directly from the band, and it’s rather interesting to sit and read these liner notes while experiencing this intense release, whether for the first time, or the millionth time, and adds a little more to the experience. However, the biggest draw to this reissue is the inclusion of the band’s 1993 demo Symbolization, which comes from the original soundfiles and not just one of the band member’s demo tapes stored away somewhere, which assures the highest audio level quality for this first time experience. If you enjoyed Immortelle, then this demo will definitely make you happy, as it sounds a lot like what is present on this release, just much more raw, which is a quality that seems to work for the band in the long run.
The only problem with this reissue is the liner notes. As stated, it’s great to read the band’s own words recounting everything from this time period and talking about the album. The trouble with that becomes where the liner notes are placed. Instead of in the booklet on an extra two, maybe three pages, these liner notes are found on the inside of the digipack itself. While this may not sound like a big deal, it is when the first page of the liner notes is under the plastic holder for the disc itself, which makes some words hard to read due to them being covered and your having to twist the digipack around to make them out. Of course, the second page of notes are there to read with nothing obscuring them, but perhaps another little piece of paper with these notes on them placed in the slit on the left side that houses the booklet would have been a nicer accomodation if it were impossible to put these notes in with the booklet, especially if keeping with the original artwork scheme made it rather impossible.
Despite what the general public may say about Immortelle, this is a fantastic debut release from Dew-Scented, showcasing the band’s talent and promise perfectly. The somewhat raw production quality works well with the band to create an often brutal-sounding release with plenty of heavy, energetic tracks that will have the listener pumping their fists in the air with matched excitement. Of course, there’s some faults here and there to the album, and the last few tracks to the release, except for “Theory of Harmony”, come off a little more like filler tracks, but in the long run, there’s plenty of material here to bring the listener back for repeat listens. Now, with this album being reissued for a short window of time, there’s no point to not grab this album, as the bonus material is really worth grabbing, whether you own the original or not, and really just adds to the experience with the included bonus demo tracks that have not been made available before, as well as the liner notes and nicer layout and color scheme to the artwork, making this the definitive version for collectors, fans, and even general metal enthusiasts to own.
01. In Flames – 3:55
02. Silenced – 2:57
03. Black is the Day – 7:04
04. Thirst for Sun – 2:36
05. Unending – 4:29
06. Afterlife/Afterlove – 5:09
07. …Yonder… – 2:11
08. Beloved Elysium – 3:02
09. For You and Forever – 6:14
10. Poets of Dirt – 2:47
11. Native Soil Venus – 4:12
12. Theory of Harmony – 3:13
13. Poets Of Dirt (Demo) – n/a
14. Black Is The Day (Demo) – n/a
15. Immortelle (Demo) – n/a
16. Unending (Demo) – n/a
17. Native Soil Venus (Demo) – n/a
18. Beloved Elysium (Demo) – n/a
|Original Pressing Score: 6/10
2010 Reissue Score: 7.5/10
Physical review copy of this release provided by Metal Mind Productions.