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Kerberos – Of Mayhem And Dismay Award winner

Of Mayhem And Dismay
by Thomas Kumke at 03 October 2022, 6:00 AM

KERBEROS were formed in 2013 and they are from Winterthur, Switzerland. They are a symphonic Death Metal band with progressive elements. Prior to their debut album, KERBEROS released one demo in 2020. “Of Mayhem And Dismay” was produced, mixed, and mastered by Christoph Brandes (BITTERNIS; FINSTERFROST) at the Iguana Studios. It has a length of 53 minutes, and it is an independent release.

The word “Kerberos” comes from ancient Greek mythology, and it is typically a dog from hell with multiple heads, often presented with three heads. Even though it is a dog, artists have also drawn Kerberos with a snake tail and a snakeskin. His bark sounded Metal and his breath was deadly. Despite KERBEROS are barking from hell already since 2013, it took them almost 10 years to find all the way from the abyss to the world and show their Metal sound. The barking starts with a grim symphonic intro delivered by strings and brass, which seamlessly transition into a Death Metal sound driven by powerful guitar riffing and the orchestral arrangements being more in the background. The vocals are shared between the cleans of Ai-Ian Metzger and the growls of Felicien Burkard. The clean vocals sound a bit unorthodox, with a lot of variation in the voice ranging from a lower tuned Rock voice to highly pitched operatic vocals. Likewise, the growls cover a broad range of the guttural range. “Resurrection Of The Sun” is mostly played at mid-tempo with a lot of twists in rhythm.

Burning Flesh” has a very powerful start with dark riffing and a grim melodic framework provided by the strings, brass, and lead guitars. The vocals start with the growls, but it does not take long for the highly pitched clean vocals to join in. Both vocalists get support by a choir. “Burning Flesh” starts very direct with a straightforward structure; however, the middle part of the track is driven by a lot of changes in rhythm, melodies, and tempo. The guitars and the growling vocals are driving the song, despite all the complexity in textures. KERBEROS smartly use the orchestra to emphasize the sound of the track. “Burning Flesh” is the official video release, and the YouTube link is given below.

Orchestra Of Death” has a fast and energetic start with the guitars and the orchestra. The guitar riffing sounds very powerful and dark. The drumming is very comprehensive with a lot of double-bass throughout. The vocals have once again choir support, but in “Orchestra Of Death” the choir has a more prominent role. The clean vocals drive the song together with the choir, while the growls have only a short appearance. Despite all the twists in sound, the guitar riffing has some catchiness at times. The lead guitar parts are perfectly contributing to the track and add to the gloomy atmosphere. “Holy Downfall” has an aggressive start with tight riffing and the growling vocals. The track soon goes in the more operatic patterns with the female vocals and the choir. “Holy Downfall” has all the attributes of a great symphonic Death Metal track: the heavy guitar riffing, the growls, the twists in rhythm, the changes between operatic and Death Metal vocals, and the orchestral arrangements.

One-Dimensional Sight” starts with a firework grim riffing and relentless drumming including a few blast-beats, before the piano transitions into an operatic track, which is driven by both vocalists and the choir. The orchestral parts are mainly provided by the piano and the brass, while the strings are more in the background. “One-Dimensional Sight” is in terms of the Death Metal sound surely the most brutal and one of the faster song on the album. Impressive are the smooth transitions between the aggressiveness of the guitars, drumming, and growling on one side, and the operatic part on the other side. “One-Dimensional Sight” is for me one of the album highlights. “Icefall” is a measured and more epic song. It is carried by the angelic female vocals and the strings for the first part of the track. The instrumental middle part of “Icefall” is very direct and aggressive with the guitars and brass driving the track. In the end, KERBEROS find their way back to the sound of the first part.

 “Murder The Immortal” is a fast and dynamic song with tight riffing, plenty of double-bass drumming, and the orchestra in the background. Both vocalists share the duties with Ai-Ian Metzger frequently switches between deeper lying Rock vocals and her highly pitched operatic voice. “Murder The Immortal” has a relatively simple song structure compared to the rest of the album, which is a very welcomed change. The album closes with “Midnight Summer’s Scream” and it starts with a grim instrumental intro delivered by the orchestra and the acoustic guitar. The intro is tension-building and it eventually explodes into a series of powerful riffing combined with the double-bass drumming and a mixture of clean and growling vocals. While the verse-chorus part of the track is driven by the Death Metal sound, the orchestra becomes more dominant during the middle part of the track. This part is also driven by a lot of twists in tempo and melodies. “Midnight Summer’s Scream” is a 10 minutes mixture between crushing Death Metal parts and quiet symphonic parts, where the latter ones with the angelic voice of Ai-Ian Metzger come out on top of the track. The final track is sure one of the album highlights.

KERBEROS deliver a very good symphonic Death Metal album. Despite being the debut album, “Of Mayhem And Dismay” sounds very mature. Unlike symphonic Metal, symphonic Death Metal is often a fight between contrasting sound elements looking for harmony and KERBEROS understand it very well to transport this fight to the listener. The orchestral parts and the female vocals act often as a counterpart to the aggressive Death Metal parts with the growling vocals. At the end of the tracks, both parts are united. Listening to this concept is fascinating and exciting. The album is well produced. KERBEROS have arrived at the symphonic Death Metal arena and with “Of Mayhem And Dismay”, they lay out a serious marker. Fans of symphonic Death Metal will surely dig the album and enjoy it.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Resurrection Of The Sun
2. Burning Flesh
3. Orchestra Of Death
4. Holy Downfall
5. One-Dimensional Sight
6. Icefall
7. Murder The Immortal
8. Midnight Summer’s Scream
Ai-Ian Metzger – Vocals
Felicien Burkard – Guitars, Bass, Vocals
Nicolas Käser – Drums
Record Label: Independent


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