Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Advent Sorrow dish out traditional slice of symphonic black metal

Assimilating orchestral elements into the sound of traditional metal can be a tricky task. This is why it's so fortunate that Advent Sorrow employs a no nonsense attitude, and only unleash the symphony in key moments where it will be most effective.

The Australian symphonic black metallers are so fresh on the scene they haven't even landed with a label yet, but that shouldn't take long if Before the Dimming Light  EP is any indication.

Advent Sorrow dazzles with their ability to inject intensity into their sound, but that fervor goes far beyond chord progressions and riffs. Before the Dimming Light presents a brief character study on a 19th century London mass murderer, reflecting on several different angles including the nature of his crimes, the inner workings of his tortured psyche, and his final thoughts before execution. This is a very heavy album conceptually and lyrically with dark moods and emotions being stirred up, but it is impressive how Advent Sorrow have managed to tie all of the songs together behind a single unifying theme.

Musically, the band sounds like Dissection crossed with Therion, minus the choral vocals. Tom Langridge's piano work, which opens the album, provides a gothic feel that will underscore the rest of the material. The keyboards on "The Wrath in Silence" introduce an important melodic aspect into the mix.

There is a considerable gothic presence at play here, but Advent Sorrow prove proficient at weaving a brand of black/death metal that stays true to the genre's fundamentals. Tracks like "A Porcelain Mistress" are bolstered by Martin Donnelly's frenetic drumming, while Rhys King's upper register growls calls to mind the work of former Dissection frontman Jon N√∂dtveidt.

Before the Dimming Light may not offer much progression over its 25 minute run time, but it lays exceptional groundwork that should signify a bright future for the band.

Score: 87/100

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