Black Countess
'Carnivorous Romance'

(Soyuz Entertainment Holding/Metal Agen/Metalism records)

MARK: 75/100


Back to the most Middle-Ages Cradle of Filth goes this fourth CD from these Russians, playing a sort of very symphonic metal, which is mainly Black metal-rooted but not only, which can turn out to be the key to make themselves popular abroad too.

After a seducing prologue by lusty Countess Elizabeth, the gates of the castle get opened and a thunder roars, anticipating the wretched wayfarers have made the best choice of their lives if they wished to die in a lascivious end, otherwise in the worst if they just wanted to make a halt. The efficient and nice "Royal Escort" starts blasting fast, alternating rapidity with the most sympho C.O.F., showing delicate keyboards, entwined with fat guitars and followed by mid tempoes. Male vocals whispered and then vampiric are the prelude to others, black and death too, after a synthetized carillon. There's a final guitar solo, one of those people who like neighing guitars will adore, following fading female vocals eager to devour the visitors' souls.
Like I said before there are several elements compounding this 8 track, and a proof of that is for example "Majestic Countess", in which Black and Classic metal are finely blended with each other and with the enthralling long symphonic parts with further female vocals by Katerina Polevina; double male vocals alternated with screams in the blasts and a bass a bit hearable sometimes complete the picture.
A showy piano ride ("A Melody of Coming Nightmare") with voices, shouts, some moanings and the noble woman's order to be licked makes your cocks harder and prepare for "Seduction and Defloration of Eleanor" (excellent title, by the way!); it begins with soft piano notes but the rest of that includes very suffered screams; a few power metal riffs make you relax before the blasts; once again several vampiric male and tender lady vocals but the following break is different from all the rest and I love it, since it touches high level of funerality and the vocals sound really morbid, and then they are whispered. Damn it! This is the most complete composition by Black Countess, full of time changes, dynamic, well-written and the one with the most erotic lyrics. When you see the artwork and the 2 wonderful Russian goddesses with those looks, clothes (not many actually, eheh), bodies and eyes, you won't but wet your pants, believe me!
"Vampiric Nymphomania" attacks first and then slows down abruptly, recurring to the Russians' typical keyboards trademark; sudden bass drums rides and heavy metal guitars render it lively and interesting.
The short "The Chamber of Sapphic Vice" starts with gloomy keboards, while some whispering male vocals suit the menacing wind in the background; this is a piece of neoclassic metal and shows a side of Black Countess that makes them different enough to Cradle of Filth.
Probably the best riff and my favourite track, "Escape to Nowhere", blazes without hurry and with all its grandeur; that's impetuous HM with a couple of Norwegian Black metal riffs and clear Death metal influences in the drumwork, matched with double Death and Black metal vocals alternated or overdubbed, while the keyboards notes run fast. A crushing break and the evil male vocals fill our ears before the tension keeps on creeping, finally broken by the nth Power metal ride.
"The Last Chapter" concludes the concept, seeing Eleanor led to the hall by Countess Elizabeth, carnally satisfied and not afraid anymore of her master. Once again brutal male vocals are opposed to female ones in a mid-tempo reserving a final blast where mainman Ilya finishes his last energies singing and drumming divinely in a way fans of Satyricon are going to recognize immediately.
The epilogue includes another instrumental piano/drums ride and brings back to the initial theme; new rash travellers are about to end their journey at the castle.

We approach 40 minutes on the whole, as the songs are quite elaborated yet never complex. I can say that Black Countess almost excel in their style, yet there's still something to improve. If you take their songs separately they sound quite exciting, but when you know the album by heart very well, you realize their formula requires a bit more diversity from the leaders of the genre and less repetitions. The good news is that they are able to dose and arrange breaks and patterns skillfully within their songs, with special reference to guitars, vocals and drums. Finally add a more incisive, refined recording, exalting the vocals in a more piercing way and the band will have made a CD above the average. Anyway, if you like Cradle of Filth and Anorexia Nervosa with several injections of Power and classic Heavy metal, I don't see any reason to advise against "Carivorous Romance".