Released: 2000, Independent
Cerberus caught my attention initially because they are a Dutch black metal band. I don’t know that many Dutch metal bands in general, never mind black metal ones! The next thing I noticed was that the band is extremely young; not a single member was born before 1979! Anyway, Cerberus calls their music “dark fantasy metal” which is a fitting name for their style. Considering that each of the four songs on this MCD deal with ancient Norse times, the term “pagan metal” could also apply. In fact, Cerberus is the only band that I can recall that has a lyrical style that falls in the realm that Amon Amarth occupies. Musically speaking though, the band is far away from that band’s crushing death metal.
Instead, Cerberus’ music is a mid-tempo symphonic black metal that brings in elements of folk, classical, and speed to liven up the (very) epic proceedings. For the most part, the mix works nicely. Opening song “Dawn of a Dark Age” highlights the cool guitar work of Otto and Reamon which is backed up by Nathalia’s keys. The vocals rarely stray from the deathy growls, which detracts from the overall affect of the disc. There is some spoken narration but not much beyond that. Some clean singing (male and female) would make the music more interesting as a whole.
The production on the disc is somewhat lacking, but still good for an independent release. The bass thumps along while the drums (provided by Joost) are excellent. They even have that awesome snappy cymbal sound that Amon Amarth uses. I realize that this symphonic style of black metal is very dependent on keyboards, but they are pushed too far ahead in the mix for my tastes. Still, there is enough headbanging goodness in the CD to make it a worthy spin. I was pleasantly surprised by this disc and can easily recommend it to fans of epic black metal.