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Dead Silent Slumber
Entombed in the Midnight Hour
Released: 1999, HammerHeart Records
I’m bending the rules by reviewing this CD (Sorry boss!) It came out on or about Christmas 1999 and it became my #1 pick for my Top 10 of 2000 for my radio show. I decided to review it here almost two years later because metal is about breaking the rules and living on the edge!
Often a one man (or woman) project will not have the depth and substance to make a real impact on the metal scene. This is different. This project is the heart felt creation of Jens Ryden of Naglfar. He used the classic excuse to do this by saying he could explore ideas that wouldn’t fit in his regular band, and in this case it fits. Jens does everything on this CD; art, layout, production, song writing, lyrics and he sings, plays guitar (acoustic and electric) bass, synth and drum programming. He does have a number of guest musicians drop by to contribute a vocal line or lead guitar solo but this CD could have easily been called ”The Jens Ryden Show”
This CD is amazing. Every song on this short, seven song CD (or is it a long EP?) has many unique and interesting features that show that Jens really put a lot of passion into this music. There are a variety of tempos from traditional, fast, black metal hiss to a gothic doom-death feel. He doesn’t really too heavily on one element in any one song, there is variety in style and construction to provide a chilling, haunting atmosphere. It reminds me a lot of Dragonlord the new side project by Eric Peterson of Testament, but Jens did it first and better. The synthesizers are kept to a minimum but add nice textures and the extra instruments are for added touches of atmosphere.
Although the lyrics are death/black metal they are darker and more intelligent than most others. Most of the songs are about blood and death but not gore metal like Mortician or vampirism like Cradle of Filth, just a nice blend of the two. My favorites are the speedy opener called, In The Glare of The Moon which has Jensa Carlsson of Persuader doing some very cool, guest vocal work and the dark and moody title track which has a neat cello intro and female vocals that aren’t sickly sweet.
I know the term underrated is thrown around often but in this case I feel it truly applies. I read virtually no press on this CD and only one other review, which also highly praised it. It is hard to describe why this grabbed me other than the songs are so good! I actually sing along to them, which is quite rare for black metal in my experience. That doesn’t mean they are catchy, simplistic, 4/4 time poppy, black metal songs, not at all! The songs are slightly more complex and challenging than the last Dimmu but have a dark element that grabs you. If you are a black metal or death metal fan and enjoy dark, atmospheric songs that offer more character than all-out True Scandinavian Black Metal, but are more complex and challenging than the latest media darlings Cradle of Filth, then please listen to this CD.
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