|Death Metal, Melodic Black Metal
Orkestral Promenade Productions
May 15th, 2011
Release length: 39:18
It seems to be a staple that anything Melodic Black Metal has to come off sounding sleek and pristine, while holding a darkness that can be considered a bit Gothic. This is the case once more with Descensus Ad Inferos, and while it doesn’t hurt things, you can’t help but wish it had a less digital approach to it. The guitars have a dulled common-to-the-style sharpness that works for the atmosphere the group is going for, but ends up nothing too impressive. The bass, however, feeds the deeper and darker tones of the music well, yet again isn’t too awe-inspiring or strong enough to fill in certain spots, leaving many passages rather empty or hollow. The drums are handled well with the cymbals coming through quite well against some tighter snares that have a lower bite to them, and a really nice click to the bass kicks. The only other ear-catching aspects would be the strong rhaspy vocal presence that exhudes enough energy to push the music a lot more than it should at times, carrying a slight echo as well as some layering here and there, and finally the keyboards that are really crisp and almost like a dripping liquid, suiting the environment well and often used sparingly.
Unfortunately, the audio to the album sounds like any other production of this style, and the slower tones that force the environment into the mix simply come off boring. “Adou Katavasis” announces this description, being a slower track that tries to go for a grim, cold atmosphere, but ends up generic. There are blast beat sections with simple keyboards laid over them, and these areas aren’t too bad. Sadly, they can’t save the song, and the most impressive elements of it wind up being one of the bridges part way through, and the passage that expands on it around the two and a half minute mark. “Under the Wings of Thanatos” has a good deal of hard hitting areas that push a stronger foundation well enough to make some epic passages come through, but aside them this ends up sounding a bit hollow due to how little impact the bass guitar has against the slower, atmospheric-driven leads. “Adou Anavasis (Outro)” wraps things up well enough, but the slower pace mixed with what sounds like a jazz influence doesn’t really suit the atmosphere, but gives off enough of a creepy vibe, though one you might expect from a Tim Burton film, which clearly isn’t what Erevos was striving for in these, or any other tracks.
When the music doesn’t really force itself to cater to a specific environment, the experience can be quite enjoyable. “The Omnipotence of the Judges” is a strong track that has plenty of atmosphere to it, but it comes off natural. There are varied paces throughout, but for the most part its mid-range approach with some catchy, yet rather heavy material will immediately grab your attention and refuse to let go. “Those Who Decide About Fate” has a more aggressive touch that allows the Death Metal side to come in a bit more while still holding the generally darker tone. The performance istighter, causing the music to sound less bored with itself, and at times even throws some chaotic passages into the mix that are fluid to the itss development. “Grotesque Blasphemy (Slaughter Pt. I)” actually sticks out a lot due to some of the more ritualistic, even Viking-esque style passage that add a bit of an epic tone not heard since “Under the Wings of Thanatos.” In fact, the song itself has tighter music with more energy, and it honestly seems as if the band is just enjoying themselves during this song, having fun at times in and outside of those specific areas that doesn’t conflict with the rather serious attitude the members bring with them into the studio.
While Descensus Ad Inferos isn’t the best album of the Melodic Black Metal/Death Metal world, there are plenty of songs that do stick out. If you enjoy the style and the sleek, somewhat Gothic audio quality that seems to linger around pretty much every recording in the field, then chances are you will get a good out of this one. However, this is far from a masterpiece, as there are plenty of rather generic songs, and the lack of a dominant bass presence can leave plenty of passages hollow. You won’t regret giving this album a spin to hear it, and chances are good you’ll want to come back again for the stronger tracks. But, given how limited those are here, this becomes more of a release for die-hards of this genre, and even then this album may find itself collecting dust after a while.
01. Adou Katavasis – 5:46
02. The Omnipotence of the Judges – 3:21
03. Kires – 4:23
04. Those Who Decide About Fate – 3:41
05. Under the Wings of Thanatos – 3:49
06. Possessed by the Moon (of the Underworld) – 3:48
07. Erinyes – 3:14
08. Kerveros – 4:38
09. Grotesque Blasphemy (Slaughter Pt. I) – 3:55
10. Adou Anavasis (Outro) – 2:43
|Overall Score: 6.5/10
Physical review copy of this release provided by Orkestral Promenade Productions.