Root - "Black Seal" (Redblack Prod.)


MARK: 85/100



"How to make a jewel-album and pass thoroughly unobserved through the ears of the big public and remain barely unknown out of the country circuit". I do hope I won't have to use these sentences again when talking about the great cult Czech dark/epic/mystical metal band Root's new album, in the meantime landed at its 6th labour, after also taking part into comps, and bunches of live-gigs also abroad. "Black Seal", also nominated to the Czech Grammy Award 2001 in hard 'n' heavy genre, is a versatile accumulation of great sophisticated and elegant ideas, partly developing the old style in a more mature, and partly adding some elements far from the hellish raw blackness they used to purvey with the first operas.
Root morph a multi-faced journey embellished by Big Boss's booming dismal baritone vocals (as examples just listen to "The Festival of Destruction" or "His Eyes Were Dark" - curiously starting with a speed metal riff before whispered vocal parts - and pay attention to him and then tell me if I'm not right if I state he's vocally a mix between Messiah Marcolin and my almost-fellow citizen fucking Luciano Pavarotti, with cool face-paint diverse from the black metallers' or King Diamond's!), the 2 guitar players' colourful and expressive work, especially Ashok's, a virtuoso disciple of Steve Vai and Yngwie J. Malmsteen ("The Incantation of Thessalonian Women", also gifted with delicate vocals and growls, both male ones, the 20-minute dirge "...Before I Leave", or "The Mirror of Soul"), and add a nimble, fresh and sometimes unpredictable drum action (so shoot yourselves "Nativity" and "Salamandra", the latter with guest vocals from Moonspell's Fernando Ribeiro). That track is the clearest nth proof that these legendary East-European musicians influenced present genre stars like Anathema and Moonspell, of course. As said before one doesn't get bored thanks to songs like "The Faith", rather power metal-based and not that dark, or the very contrary, "Liber Prohibitus", martial paced and sacred the way Lucifer likes, and lyrics regarding ancient forgotten times, mysterious places where as occult rites and spells as the former were executed.
The splendid harmonies of these 12 tracks sum up the heaviness of "Hell Symphony", the monumentality of "The Temple in the Underworld", the mystery of "Kärgeräs", and the dark fascination of "The Book", then bear in mind the clearly powerful and crisp production makes my day by not hiding the medium range, i.e. as to rhythm and solo guitar parts, vocals, keyboards, et cetera, as you'd expect from a dark album.
The only 2 flaws I just can't neglect concern the English pronunciation and the way the words are linked in singing on some occasions, which ought to be improved; nothing extraordinarily negative, but from a very experienced band I require them, no matter how pedantic I can seem at this moment.