Ночь оденет тебе свой венец (Night Shall Crown Ye)
Артания (Artania) is a symphonic black metal band from Voronezh, Russia, and this is their debut album. While many people stray from more mainstream symphonic black metal bands such as Dimmu Borgir or Cradle of Filth, this appeals to both fans of the aforementioned bands, and general metal lovers.
This album tends to avoid many of the pitfalls of typical black metal, such as pointless tremolo riffs, but also lacks a genuine spark of creativity. There are some decent, heavy riffs, but they are fairly typical, and rarely ever take attention. There is, however, a guitar solo on San-Grinyol (Theatre Of Death) that is actually very good, which is a nice change for black metal. Acoustic guitars pop up from time to time, and add another dimension to music, which is needed. The drums however, tend to take up much attention, as the double bass is very prominent and powerful. Vocals take much of the spotlight here, a trend that seems to follow the genre, showcasing a mid-pitched growl or scream, which is very well done. This is countered with more operatic female vocals, however they also border on very aggressive, which is a different take on a genre trait such as this. Keys are audible, however they don’t show up very often, and symphonic elements are also somewhat scarce.
The only place where this album lacks is song writing. Apart from a few passages here and there, nothing is particularly catchy or amazing. While this is good in the sense that production is solid, the individual performances are well played, and they complement each other, but there seems to be this lack of imaginative spark, which would really make the whole album fantastic. I understand that this is a young band, and first albums aren’t always that great, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and wait to see what they have in store.
While there is nothing really wrong with this album, it just doesn’t seem to be able to stand up to bands like Tvangeste, Bal-Sagoth, or any of the genre stalwarts of the last 20 or so years. This is a first album, and I expect that this band will continue to experiment and find themselves an original sound that may take them places. A good listen for fans of symphonic black metal, but otherwise, it may be a mediocre first recording.
Claus’ Rating 3/5