Also this time
the Hungarian act achieves fairly good qualitative levels with its 5th
album, showing the fundaments for future and, hopefully, deeper experimentations.
Sear Bliss already skim what the latest Enslaved have produced, never
becoming so psychedelic as them. As a matter of fact in their symphonic
black metal you can find icy guitar streams, as well as proportioned
interventions of trombone ("Eternal Battlefields",
"Enthralling Mystery"), large plateus of sidereal keyboards,
like at the beginning and end of "Last Stand".
The title of the song "My Journey to the Stars" confirms
that the whole song is based on astral trips towards new dimensions
and worlds, often frozen, inhospitable, tho leaving vague flashes of
light and hope at the end of the composition.
Indeed darkness rules "She Will Return" and "Enthralling
Mystery", mostly because of Csaba Csejtei's come-back, former
guitar player and songwriter in Sear Bliss. contributing to the fishing
out of stylistic elements present only in the far debut "Phantoms"
of '96, put together with rides and stream-of-consciousness lyrics contained
in "Grand Destiny".
"The Forsaken" and "When Death Comes"
proudly show that with the simple effect Metalzone and a dry, raw and
dirty recording (esp. as for the drums) one can realize an album soaked
in a sheer wicked aura without ever boring. "The Forsaken"
also contains more 'controlled' parts, creating an interesting mix between
the razorblade vocals and guitars, and the dreaming keyboard sounds,
before the final jerks.
The feeling of primal black metal of the early '90's is brought back
in "Eternal Battlefields" and "The Vanishing"
in particular, inside quite lengthy and full-of-highs-and-lows tracks,
lots of significative keyboard inserts, which make the CD reach a total
duration of more than an hour; an hour well spent if what you look for
is fleeing from everyday stressing, alienating and fucking capitalistic
routine, and all you wish is entering a world where courage really is
the best weapon so that a worthy warrior doesn't become one of the tempting
demons he's fighting, and faces his and every human being nightmares
The concept brings the hero to the victory against the witch ablaze
on a stake depicted in the cover, one more time by the popular Kris
Verwimp ("The Hour of Burning", opened by a lulling
arpeggio). The woman represents nature according to the ancient Magyar
mythology. This closing track, the best along with "Last Stand"
and "The Vanishing", is my fave thanks to the effected
diabolical vocals, horrorific keyboards, matched with incredible riffs,
groovy accelerations and cascades of inspired guitar solos in the vein
of the '80's classical ones to the fading end.
Not many black metal come out today, and all the more reason if you're
fans of low-fi black with class and experimentation touches, this record
is for you.
Sear Bliss are about to reach the top of their career: they just have
to try to develop their songwriting more, be more incisive and make
their music even more involving. As to now, they teach us that hell
is not a boring place at all, because it's not only flames and lava,
but it has another dimension here on earth life, which is empty, frozen,
absolutely lonesome, eternally sad, and as terrifying as the classical
one described by the Bible or Dante Alighieri. Enter at your own risk,
o you who dare!
MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - 19/10/02