Bound By Entrails – For Valhall’s Sorrow

In something of a step up from the previous year’s demo, Bound By Entrails have happily shed much of their folky Drudkh-styled leanings in favor of a more pure, Emperor-derived black metal sound on ‘For Valhall’s Sorrow’.  While the demo was a rather confused work due to multiple musical influences grinding against each other in the middle of songs, the material on this disc is a great deal more streamlined, making for a very solid if rather unremarkable album.

The band seems to have greatly matured in the time between this and the demo, and even older tracks seem to have been sharpened in both playing and composition.  The remnants of the band’s earlier, more folk-influenced area are now more focused and elegantly blended with the mostly Norwegian style black metal that dominates the compositions.  Production has improved substantially, with a clearer, sharper tone without some of the unnecessary guitar fuzz, and also removed is the unnecessary vocal distortion that slightly marred the previous release.  The sequenced drums seem to have been replaced by authentically played ones, which in this band’s case is a great improvement, with a less intrusive presence and a more organic feel that much of the programming failed to achieve.  All four tracks off the ‘Overture To The Fallen’ demo have been rerecorded for this release and greatly benefit from the improved production and real drums, though they are still the weaker half of this album.

Much better are the new tracks which are almost purely black metal with only slight folk and viking leanings here and there.  Songs such as ‘Fault Of Filth’ easily dominate any of the demo-era material with razor-sharp tremolo riffing and a definite step up in both aggression and compositional abilities.  ‘Across The Dead Night Sky’ is extremely reminiscent of earlier Emperor material with a bit of a modern edge, while ‘Rabid Wolves’ wouldn’t sound out of place on a Dark Funeral album with its very quick tempo and grandiose riffing style.  The new material is very solid and a great step up from the demo; I’d probably say that this release would be better overall entirely eschewing the demo material and sticking only with new tracks.

That being said, while this is a substantial improvement over the previous demo, it still lacks something in the department of originality.  While reasonable well composed, I still find the end product rather nondescript.  If Bound By Entrails want to really move to the next level as far as their music, they’ll need to spend some time really finding their own particular sound; as it stands, I can only really compare them to other bands because, well, that’s all they sound like.  This album isn’t bad; it’s a solid slab of black metal that’s very listenable and enjoyable, but it’s just not quite enough to push them over into must-buy territory.  Not bad, but I have a feeling that they can do better.

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~ by noktorn on September 5, 2008.

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