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Passéisme - Eminence

by Ian Yeara at 16 August 2021, 10:15 PM

Getting hit with so many black metal promos every year they tend to blend together quite a bit, so that even some of the higher quality releases I get don’t stand out as much in retrospect. Time will tell with this one, but this has to be some of the most energetic, upbeat black metal I’ve ever heard. Right off the bat in “A Chant for Tribulation” the guitars are furiously hitting me in the face, but something about the harmonic composition of the riffs hits differently than a lot of the straightforward black metal I usually get. Interestingly I think this album makes use of modal scales more than a lot of them do, which tells me these guys have some musical training, but generally the music is almost happy? Minus the vocals of course, but there’s a lot more major keys than minor in this.

I honestly cannot tell you if I like the vocals on this record or not, they're not quite what I'm used to which is part of it, but they're the kind of vocals that sound more like shouting than actual harsh vox, but as the album goes on they kind of grow on you. Sadly the vocals are the weakest part of the album, but the music is good enough for me to not completely hold this against the band. The production is pretty typical of this kind of black metal; distant and cold, yet hot in signal and very little headroom in the mix. It works well and it gives the album a distinct flavor. I'd have to say my favorite aspect of this album is the guitar sound, it's rich and full creating an excellent backdrop for the band to tell their story. After the vocals, the biggest knock I'd have to give this album is in the songwriting. Each song follows largely the same formula and while this is clearly a concept album and it's meant to be experienced all at once, there's not enough variation in sounds for me, and the hooks aren't strong enough to reel me back in for repeat listens.

I haven't been discussing the songs individually because they don't feel like individual songs, really this sounds like one 7 part song, which is fine and overall the band has done a commendable job. My biggest suggestion for them would be to spend more time bringing out the hooks and to also use softer sections more frequently, like how the last three tracks do. The acoustic guitars create a wonderful contrast and in "Chant for Enlightenment" the transition into and out of the softer development section makes for one hell of a finale. A lot of this album feels raw with potential, I think this is a band to watch for in the future and if they can shore up some of the little details I've mentioned I think their next album could be incredible.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Chant for Tribulation
2. Chant for Harvest
3. Chant for Austerity
4. Chant for Insolence
5. Chant for Parade
6. Chant for Splendor
7. Chant for Enlightenment
KK - Bass/Vocals
AV - Drums
IM - Guitars
Record Label: Antiq Records


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