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At Dusk - Condemned

At Dusk
by Jack Harding at 24 April 2019, 1:46 PM

“Condemened” is a 4 track, 50-minute album. Roughly 3 minutes of that run time is actually worth your time. Everything is dragged out relentlessly. Functional riffs are repeated and repeated, until any positive feelings they once evoked are but a faint memory. You can skip entire sections of this record, and be left unaware of any chance. Repetition turns to monotony to outright boredom. I’ve listened to bad records before, but none have bored me this much. To be honest, the actual writing isn’t that awful, it’s just repeated to the point of ridiculousness. This album is the equivalent of Chinese water torture. At first tolerable, before a quick descent into madness. Long songs, when done properly, are fantastic. One of my favorite releases from last year was “Mirror Reaper” by BELL WITCH, an hour and 20 minute long song. “Mirror Reaper” keeps the listener engaged by evolving, extending and exploring every single idea, developing an expansive piece that never bores. “Condemned” however, simply repeats unconnected riffs for a seemingly random amount of time, before just switching unnaturally to something else. Nothing develops. Nothing is explored. Everything is just elongated for the sake of it.

Title track, “Condemned”, is the ultimate test in patience. With a minute and a half crescendo of white noise and sound design, reminding me of the start of “OPETH’s “The Leper Affinity”, beginning the piece, a palpable tension is created. However, whereas OPETH use this crescendo to make the opening riff hit hard, this song just stops. It lingers. It lingers and it lingers, until all this tension is demolished, making this entire build-up feel like wasted time. Then the opening riff, which is actually quite effective in itself, just feels underwhelming, because such an intense opening was teased. This riff is then drained of any remaining effectiveness as it is just repeated relentlessly, until the entire track just stops. This is something the record does far too often. It is obvious that Korihor has simply no idea of what to do next. He repeatedly just stops riff out of nowhere, to play some generic movie quote over a basic, creepy atmosphere. Basically, Black Metal cliches 101. “Condemned” is not the only track guilty of this, as this also happens in basically every track. These moments feel like self-admissions by the artist; that they know the songs are too long. They know this, but still include these large, pointless sections that stretch on eternally.

Somewhat ironically, the best moment in this Metal album is actually not Metal at all. The track “Martyred” (my favorite track) begins with a beautifully melancholic piano part that, unlike any of the guitar riffs on the album, actually develops and goes somewhere. In comes some fantastic, if at moments slightly distracting, sound design, and a string section that creates some beautiful harmonies and reinforces the piano melodies. However, this all stops briefly before the song opens up, and this just feels like a mistake. The opening guitar riff is genuinely fantastic though.

There are some ideas with potential on this record, but unfortunately no idea is explored fully, but is instead repeated until you are sick and tired of it. Unlike the record itself, I’m going to keep my consensus brief. Is this album worth your time? No.

Songwriting - 2
Originality - 3
Memorability - 2
Production - 4

1 Star Rating

1. Condemned
2. Consigned
3. Martyred
4. Maligned

Korihor - Vocals, All Instruments

Record Label: Pacific Threnodies


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