Breath Of Sorrows – Through Darkness To Battle I Ride

This reminds me significantly of several other Wraith Productions bands: Absonus Noctis, Chaos Moon, Sapthuran, etc., and that reminding comes in a lot of forms.  Musically it seems very in line with what Wraith is accustomed to doing (which makes sense, considering it was the label’s second release): raw yet melodic black metal with thin, very digital production and fairly simple, linear song structures.  Oddly specific, I know, but the majority of the material found on Wraith fits that mold more or less.  So, with that said, I have about the same opinion on this item as I do most other Wraith releases: pretty good songwriting hampered by very inadvisable aesthetic choices.

Breath Of Sorrows plays a very riff-based, somewhat depressive style of raw/melodic black metal.  Those riffs are generally fast, tremolo picked, and reminiscent of ‘Transilvanian Hunger’-era Darkthrone with a more complex modern flair.  These riffs are repeated quite often over a shimmering drum machine and wrapped in a sheath of wildly screaming, suicidal-inspired distorted vocals.  It’s fairly cool if nothing unique.  The band is good at using contrasting fast and slow passages to create a dark, misty atmosphere.  The riffs are fairly well composed in that textured ‘Transilvanian Hunger’ style but with more direct melody, which is not an incredibly creative combination but it gets the job done.  The programming is adequate (although the constant use of the crash cymbal in places is irritating) and the vocals are passable (though the fact that they don’t adhere to any rhythm half the time starts to get on one’s nerves).  The songs are good if unremarkable; some of them feel too long for their own good.  Overall it’s not bad.

The central problem that afflicts it is the same one that is found on many Wraith releases: it feels more like a lengthy demo than a full-length album.  It might make a bit more sense this time as it seems this release is partly composed of material from the self-titled demo from a year before, but even then it doesn’t really rationalize how it’s a full-length album.  Yes, it’s long enough, but the content merely feels like a strong demo, a problem that could be seen on Absonus Noctis’ ‘Penumbral Inorgantia’ in spades.  While the riffs are good and the song structures are functional, a lot of time the music fails to really ‘come together’ and feels like a lot of unrelated parts vaguely moving in the same direction.  It lacks depth; it feels like all the effort was placed in the riffs and everything else was just sort of done on the fly while moving on to the next track.  It’s an album that I have trouble listening to all the way through for these reasons; it would probably be better as a four track demo than nearly 65 minutes of music.

It’s a decent album.  Most black metal fans will like it and my criticisms are rather eccentric.  Overall though, I don’t feel it as much as I think I should and that’s a bit disappointing.  I like listening to the occasional track from this but the album as a whole is something of an ordeal.  Your musical mileage may vary, so take it for what you will.

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~ by noktorn on August 31, 2008.

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