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Black Reuss - Metamorphosis

Black Reuss
by Jessica Smith at 24 October 2022, 5:52 AM

Gothic metal one-man show BLACK REUSS has just recently re-released their first full length album “Metamorphosis” after signing on with Sliptrick Records. If like me this is your first intro to BLACK REUESS, Maurizio is described as being influenced by the likes of TYPE O NEGATIVE and BLACK SABBATH- so you can anticipate some melodic gloomy vocals met with dark riff-based tracks. One look at the track titles and you will already be able to tell that this album is going to be exactly as titled, a transformation of emotions ranging from broken sadness through the stages of grief into absolute elation. So like a river (much like the artist’s name reference) let’s eb and flow through these chapters.

Starting off synthy with “Incomplete”, this track is carried by melancholy vocals and lyricism perfectly setting the tone of bleakness that surprisingly pulls you back up with a symphonic cadence of instrumentals focusing on rhythmic drums and catchy riffs. Personally I feel this is the most diversified track on the album and a killer beginning. From here we journey into the first half of emotion with “Grief”, “Fear”, and “Anger”. All three of these tracks definitely lean heavily into the SABBATH inspiration of “depression rock” heavy metal. Which means lots of loud guitars on top of dense drums and bass. Each title is perfectly expressed instrumentally as to the feeling being set. Grief is full of sorrowful sound, fear portrayed with eerie keys, and anger booming with aggressive instrumentals. We get a similar but slowed sound in the next two tracks before reframing to a lighter emotional experience.

“Zeal” (defined as great energy in pursuit of a cause) gives the sense of up-and-down much like feelings of going through phases of emotions. It’s dark and gloomy while also adding a hint of brightness to turn into the back half of the album. If you listen to gothic metal regularly, you know that even the “brighter” emotive moments are still pretty somber in vocal sound. Where we hear a difference in this back half is that the riffs pick up pace, there’s less low grungy distortion and we get a reminiscent 80’s hair metal vibe while still tugging through vocal depths.  In “Inspiration” we even get a more upbeat psychrock vocalizing similar to that of VOLBEAT. The album ends as literally as you would have guessed with “Exodus” that is a nice quick call back to the synth mix along with guitar riffs from the beginning of the album.

The best part about this album is you will get exactly what you are expecting from each song title; the worst part- that you will get exactly what you expect. This artist is very clearly talented on his own, is not afraid to dive into the depths of human emotion, and knows what sounds good. However it’s almost too familiar and comfortable to the point of not being memorable on it’s own. Interested to see how Maurizio continues to grow as a musician in the gothic metal community.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 4
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Incomplete
2. Grief
3. Fear
4. Anger
5. Pride
6. Lifeblood
7. Zeal
8. Acceptance
9. Mind
10. Love
11. Joy
12. Inspiration
13. Exodus (Outro to Journey)
Maurizio Dottore - Vocals/Guitar/Bass/Keys/Programming 
Record Label: Sliptrick Records


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