Reviewed: July 2002
Released: 2002, Avantgarde Music
Well, I’ve never been into Opera IX before, and after listening to this release, nothing is going to change. This disc is dull, dull, dull. Did I mention dull? For a band on their fourth album, you’d think that there would be some form of originality present in their music (well, you’d hope anyway), but this is not so with Opera IX. All you get on this disc is run of the mill symphonic black metal that is neither exciting or engaging. If that’s your thing, then great, but I’ve heard enough of this style that a band is going to have to do something fresh to catch my interest.
That’s not to say that MALEVENTUM is a horrible album though. The production is quite clear and the band’s collective performance is excellent. New drummer Taranis is indeed talented, propelling the songs forward admirably. However, the other new member of the band, vocalist Madras, is less welcome. His vocals are very average black metal rasps, and don’t convey much emotion or personality. The rest of the music is well played, if somewhat keyboard drenched, but again, nothing really stands out here either.
To my ears, the main problem with this disc is that most of the songs are far too long. Out of seven songs, five of them are over 7 minutes long, with a nine-minute and a ten-minute thrown in the mix. If the ideas in the songs were engaging enough then I’d say “hey, go for it, have a blast”, but that is just not the case here. These are just songs that are too long and have nothing to say.
The one thing the album does have going for it is that the last two songs are its best, “Forgotten Gods” and “In the Raven’s Eyes” close the album with definite punch. Too bad that most people will have tuned out by then. It’s hard to listen to an album like this, because although it’s not that good, there’s nothing to actively hate about it either, mediocrity rules. But hey, at least the band can take heart in the fact that their ex-vocalist isn’t doing so well either…
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