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Semblant - Vermilion Eclipse Award winner

Semblant
Vermilion Eclipse
by Kevin Lewis at 16 May 2022, 8:39 AM

SEMBLANT is a six-piece Brazilian band from Curitiba that was formed in 2006. “Vermilion Eclipse” is their fourth full-length record. Released April 15, 2022. Via Frontiers SRL Records, it is a continuation of their hard-hitting Melodic Death Metal sound. The guitar/keyboard combination used by this band is equally as impressive as the clean/harsh vocal offset of the male and female singers.

The disc starts with “Enrage,” a slow building song that takes off when the main body of the track kicks in. The layered vocals, the shifting from clean to harsh and the harmonies are not typical of any band out there right now. AMARANTHE comes close, but it takes them three singers to do what SEMBLANT does with two. As killer as the music is behind the vocals, this pair makes it hard to hear the instruments due to their incredible skill and chemistry.

Having said that, “Destiny in Curse” is instrument heavy and lets you really hear the skills of the rest of the musicians. Not that this was ever in question, there is just a lot to hear from this band. The guitars on this track are tasty and the drums stand out as well. The keys, not to be outdone, add lighter tones to a dark riff. And what id the bass doing during all this? Playing more like a rhythm guitar than a timekeeper.

The excellence continues farther down the tracks. “The Human Eclipse” burns bright. The riff, with those added little tones at the end of the phrase, give something extra to this one. “Somber Concern” then crushes your skull with one of the most brutal riffs on the album. The melodic verse phrasing is a fantastic contrast to that heavy intro. The skill with which this band shifts gears and changes tempos is amazing.

Heretic” goes for a lighter, keyboard heavy intro, but make no mistake, this is not a gentle song meant to give you a break from the heaviness. The chorus is solid, and the riff is huge. The keyboards and bass help lift that riff. The vocals are dark and twisted, just like you would expect from a song like this. One of the highlights of this is the non-shredding guitar solo. The pace and tone are pure bliss.

So, how do you wrap up a record like this? How about with a 10-minute epic song that has a bit of power metal flair? It has a gentle intro, including some excellent, haunting vocals from Mizuho. After the intro, the kick is phenomenal. All the instruments come crashing in to demolish the softness. “Day One Oblivion” cannot be an epic ballad. The title doesn’t fit, so they had to make sure everything works together. The main body of the song has a few minor progressive elements, adding to the power metal timing. It’s 10 minutes of SEMBLANT showing their range.

One of the things I love about SEMBLANT is their ability to let each instrument stand out at times. The guitarist is not the hero of the band, and neither are the two incredible vocalists. Everyone gets their chance to shine, and they all take that opportunity and run. The keyboards trade off solos and leads with the guitars, making them an integral part of the riff. The rhythms never take a back seat, rather they cram into the front with everyone and just create this foundation of sound meant to delight and entertain the discerning ear.

Melodic death metal is not for everyone. It is too heavy for some, and the growls put off others, but those of us who love this style will find many things to be very happy about. The compositions are complex and well-written, the performance is outstanding. This is one of the best examples of the genre in the past few years. SEMBLANT truly outdid themselves this time.

Songwriting:  10
Musicianship:  10
Memorability:  9
Production:  9

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Enrage
2. Destiny in Curse
3. Purified
4. The Human Eclipse
5. Somber Concern
6. Neverending Fall
7. Through the Denial
8. Black Sun Genesis (Legacy of Blood, Pt. VI)
9. Heretic
10. Bloodred Monarch (Legacy of Blood, Pt. VII)
11. Gaslighting
12 Day One Oblivion
Lineup:
Sérgio Mazul – Vocals
Mizuho Lin – Vocals
Johann Piper – Bass
Thor Sikora – Drums
Juliano Ribeiro – Guitar
J. Augusto – Keyboards
Record Label: Frontiers Records SRL
     


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Edited 07 July 2022
 

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