Released: 2000, Independent
American black metal! Well, more to the point, black metal from NYC. While black metal is no longer anything new to North American shores, Afflitus immediately separates themselves from the pack by comparing their music to Opeth. Surely a band that compares themselves to a band as respected and loved as Opeth would make sure that they had the music to back up their boasting? Well, yes and no.
Afflitus certainly does fit into the more progressive/melodic side of the black metal spectrum, having more in common with the likes of Dissection (another name the band drops as a point of reference) than with “true” black bands like Darkthrone or (old) Mayhem. The body of an Afflitus song is pure aggression but tempered with excellent use of melody and slower breaks (see most of “Staring Into Nothing”). Naturally, the band isn’t afraid to go full out and skip the quiet moments entirely (“Steeling through the Darkness”). So far so good, but not really anything out of the ordinary.
So where does the Opeth comparison come in? Well, I for one can’t hear it. I may be picking on the band a bit too much here, but dammit, if you’re going to compare yourself to such a respected band, I expect results! That being said, I quite enjoyed this EP. While still young, the band is smart enough to incorporate dynamics and tempo shifts into their music, making the songs flow without wasted time. The band also proves themselves quality musicians, sounding tight with no mistakes to be heard. With time, I could see Afflitus developing their own style and making their own mark in the metal scene.