As an angry commentor once told me, when I don’t like an album for very specific reasons I should instead just say that I don’t like the sound of the band despite that having nothing to do with it. For unrelated reasons, I’m tempted to not post negative reviews anymore. The purpose of this blog is mostly to point out why non-metal music listeners that appreciate well composed music might have something to listen to. Posting about albums I don’t particularly like doesn’t really accomplish this goal.
For awhile I’ve been wanting to break into the so-called symphonic death metal scene. The idea of it really appeals to me. The rough idea is to use an orchestra, but then mix it with metal. I grew up on orchestral music. This seemed like a natural next step from my metal obsession. In order to pick out an album to get I went to youtube and typed in some generic search and started clicking through lots and lots of songs.
I wasn’t really into anything I was hearing, but the one that stood out was the first song on the album II by Xerath which came out May 3, 2011. The song had this beautiful string section playing these long flowing lines over an intense metal band. This style was essentially invented by Shostakovich and now here is a metal band using it. It is very effective and cool.
Once the novelty of the style wore off I was left wanting more. First off, large swaths of this album subject the “symphonic” aspect to the background and you are left just listening to standard sounding metal. This was kind of disappointing. The orchestra might be most pronounced on the song that drew me in.
Also, somehow the music didn’t have enough meat to it. There are certainly some complicated, interesting things going on, but for a large part (maybe the majority) of the album it is just your standard fare. It might be what you’d call “radio metal.” I tune out for it because there isn’t enough interesting stuff going on to keep my full attention. It is the type of stuff that kept me away from metal for all those years.
When it’s good, it is really great, but there is too much down time for me to be excited about the album as a whole. If you know of a really awesome symphonic metal band let me know. I’m still holding out hope for greatness. I’ll give this a 5.5/10, but of course that’s completely random.
Here’s a sample (not off this album, but really emphasizes the style that drew me in):