Latest updates:

We hope you enjoy your visit here. Please join or login if you have joined before.

MT @ Facebook

Not logged in

Users online

37 guests

Welcome to our newest member, DanielleD

Suffering Souls – True Godfucking Soulblight

Suffering Souls
True Godfucking Soulblight
by Andrew Graham at 17 October 2020, 12:30 PM

Reviewing compilation albums poses very different challenges to a normal review. To a certain extent you are charting the course and evolution of a band’s development – in some cases very radical development. Today we have such a compilation from SUFFERING SOULS, a Bavarian black metal act (not sure that’s a combination I’d ever put together in a sentence!) By this point the personal project of Tobias “Lord Esgaroth” Micko, there is nonetheless plenty to enjoy in this summary of the early years of the band’s respectable 25-year career.

This eleven-track compilation can be broken down into some manageable chunks. The first track is an ambient introduction (a new track) which sets a dreary, wind-swept stage, as many albums of this kind do (think EMPEROR’S “In the Nightside Eclipse” or MAYHEM’S “Wolf’s Lair Abyss”).

Tracks 2-5 comprise the band’s 1998 “When Silence Cries Eternally” demo. I’ll say from the outset that I think critiquing production on a demo is (largely) unfair so I will reserve judgement! It’s a black metal demo and the production is correspondingly primitive and that’s all I’ll say on the matter. That said, the songs are suitably dark and foreboding, evoking some of the finer moments of others like EMPEROR. Granted there is quite some way to go in terms of instrumental mastery or song writing sophistication, but there are some genuinely tasty moments. “Beyond the Nocturnal Gates of Uncertainty” gives us their template and sets a realistic scene for what is to follow. Siren-esque choirs draw us “Into the Cryptic Forest of Enchantment”. Tremolo melodies set against the choral canvass form a genuinely haunting and atmospheric (even immersive!) experience. Tobias, sorry, “Lord Esgaroth” certainly has a knack for creating, and even maintaining, a mood! “Queen of the Night” opens with almost parodic waltz bars in ¾ interspersed with less clear interruptions, seeming at once familiar but also disturbed – rather clever really! It closes with more eery choral passages, leading us into the next track, “Cries of Silence”. This opens with fury and never relents, displaying some genuinely and darkly melodic tremolo passages: the real highlight of the demo, it’s little wonder that it is revisited on 1999’s “Cries of Silence” EP, the subject of tracks 6-8.

“Ad Noctum” is another ambient keyboard intro which leads directly into the 1999 “Cries of Silence”. The evolution is immediately apparent (not least in production). There is significantly more punch on display, whilst retaining much of the characteristic low-fi black metal sound. This is not to the expense of the recording however. Earlier I mentioned “In the Nightside Eclipse” – this is almost the level of production we are dealing with here. If there were any lingering doubts as to the merits of this track, they are dispelled now that we are largely able to properly hear what is going on! The orchestrally-driven bridge in the middle of the song is now much more sophisticated and a hint of things to come. “I’m the Essence of Sin” opens with a full-blown classical passage on keyboard, which is now wholly at home in the mixture of harsh black metal and melodic symphonic elements Tobias has created. By now the ghostly, ethereal mix of both glides along nearly effortlessly (leaving aside a bizarre and slightly muddled drum passage near the middle of the track), the two elements blending together again to close this stomper, and the EP.

The next track, “The Throne Unite Dimensions” comes from debut full-length album “Twilight Ripping Souls Apart”. Oddly, though most elements of the production have audibly improved, the guitars are still noisy and confined to the mid-ranges – and not even in an authentically black metal way. I have to say the symphonic elements do not blend as well here, standing rather separate, disconnected even – I think I preferred the EP!

“Dark Angels from the Funeral Abyss” follows. I’m unsure if this is a new track or from some long-forgotten recording session but I have to say it’s largely unimpressive. The orchestral elements sound comically old – it’s a bit like listening to a Nintendo 64 era orchestral suite on games like The Legend of Zelda. It also sounds a little genre-confused – we have guttural vocals as well as the black metal shriek, and a lot of the riffage sounds more akin to death metal. If this was intentional it doesn’t quite work and ends up confusing more than enticing.

The final track, “Punishment for the Believe to the Christianity” is a live recording from 1996. We open with seemingly Jason Vorhees-inspired keyboards, which do nonetheless continue the largely seamless blend of classical and black metal we have seen so far. Asides from this the track is mostly inaudible such is the quality of the recording. It is interesting for historical reasons as we can, nonetheless, hear elements of what is later to develop.

Overall, this is actually a fascinating collection of tracks. Listening to SUFFERING SOUL’S more recent albums, you can really discern a more fully developed version of what is evolving in the early recordings on display here. My inclination is that this compilation is largely of value as a place to find the early demo and EP, rather than as an outright introduction to the band to somebody unfamiliar. A curiosity for the metal scholars nonetheless who want to place this band within the wider symphonic black metal scene – and that just so happens to include myself!

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 5

3 Star Rating

  1. The Source of Blasphemy
  2. Beyond the Nocturnal Gates of Uncertainty
  3. Into the Cryptic Forest of Enchantment
  4. Queen of the Night
  5. Cries of Silence (1998)
  6. Ad Noctum
  7. Cries of Silence (1999)
  8. I’m the Essence of Sin
  9. The Throne Unite Dimensions
  10. Dark Angels from the Funeral Abyss
  11. Punishment for the Believe to the Christianity (Live 1996)
Tobias “Lord Esgaroth” Micko – Everything
Record Label: Schwarzdorn Production


You do not have permission to rate

Metal Temple © 2000-2014
Yiannis Mitsakos

Designed, Implemented and Hosted by PC Green