Written In Torment – The Uncreation

I’m fond of the band that’s willing to cut through unnecessary bullshit and simply ‘go for the jugular’, in the words of noble Fenriz (certainly one of the more appropriate people to make such a statement). It’s of even better circumstance where the band can achieve such a goal without sacrificing lush, multi layered compositions. Some would say such objectives are mutually exclusive, but I disagree; there are numerous examples of such achievements in the pantheon of metal, of which Written In Torment has contributed nicely to with its debut EP ‘The Uncreation’.

This one-man project plays black metal (albeit with heavy death metal influences) in the style of older Dissection and Emperor, though I detect influences from bands such as Immortal, Morbid Angel, and older Satyricon as well. Instrumentally, there’s a high level of skill apparent: more technical than your average black metal, and more capably written, as well. Each song is packed to the brim with riff after riff, very few of which feel like any sort of filler; instead, they bounce off each other appropriately and form a high-quality bed for The Leviathan’s venomous vocal performance. The songs generally appear in multiple distinct movements generally governed by tempo, keeping the music multifaceted and intriguing throughout. This is a band that most certainly knows how to keep one from dozing off during a song.

The death metal riffing present on this album is a blessing, to be sure. Unlike many bands that attempt a black/death fusion, Written In Torment doesn’t flounder in attempting to graft them together nor awkwardly jumping from one style to the other. Here the combination is surprisingly natural, fusing the percussive brutality of death metal with the grandiose sense of melody of black metal in a form that, while not entirely unique, is most certainly pleasing to the ear. The production in this case aids it considerably; very clear and generally well-balanced, though perhaps a bit too much emphasis is placed on the guitars in the sound stream. This is not an album that would benefit from an extra layer of grimness, as the material present is frosty enough for the most of us. Although at times I do feel the guitar tone is a tad digital and synthetic for my tastes, I’d say that Wayland’s Forge did a great job on the sound here.

Flaws? Only a couple. The primary concern for the prospective listener is if they’ll be fine with music that isn’t particularly original. While most certainly well-written, this obviously isn’t ground-breaking stuff; luckily, this is such a band that understands this aspect and concentrates on creating blistering compositions while falling within tradition’s bounds. Such opinions on the matter sway from listener to listener; as such, it’s not much of a concern to me. The other, somewhat more pressing issue is related to the songwriting. At many times, it feels as if The Leviathan is trying to put too many ideas into too few, too short songs. While the death metal influence does tend to compress the material a bit, I would say that most of the songs present here could benefit from a minute or so extra each, or perhaps their ideas being spread into more songs. This being said, it’s certainly more desirable to have too many ideas that too few.

Overall, ‘The Uncreation’ is a solid piece of extreme metal that will please most listeners greatly. At four tracks and eighteen minutes, it’s difficult to pass judgment. However, if this EP is any indication, Written In Torment will persist in punishing the world with its music in years to come.

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~ by noktorn on January 24, 2007.

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