Released: 2000, Dimm Studios
Reviewer: Ice Maiden
The Sentencing is the debut album from this Ohio band, and—yowza--did they start things with a bang! This is one of those albums you can enjoy on many levels--on a superficial level it is imminently accessible, but you can also sit down and really dissect its complexity. However you choose to approach it, this album is very enjoyable.
Once again I am faced with the task of reviewing a band and album that defy metal genre categorization. Though the band started originally as a straight death metal act under the name Necrolatry in 1992, Estuary of Calamity and its first offering represent a true mix of genres. It is apparent that at least some of the band members are classically trained musicians, as evidenced in the baroque-style flute and harp interludes. There are Celtic overtones to the music, along with moments of complex brutality, atmospheric doom and melodic, almost-black metal sounding, vocals. One of my favorite tracks off of the 7-track album is the final one—Summoned at Daybreak. Starting out with medieval sounding keyboards, the song progresses into a plodding, doomy guitar riff, then morphs with chirpy flute and death metal vocals (not cookie monster, more like a seriously-messed up Yoda) into a beautiful speed rhythm, then slows again—dark and brooding—then picks up with a nice and brutal head-bang-inducing finish. I guess that’s what I love about the album—its complexity, its variations in speed and in tonality. This isn’t your typical no-brain-needed death metal—this is complex, finessed and interesting melodic death metal with a twist. On top of it all, the production on the album is good, which is interesting since I learned that the drum tracks were recorded in a mud factory.
The Estuary of Calamity members site as their influences Iron Maiden, Dark Tranquillity, Dissection, Kreator and Opeth. I’d add to that mix a healthy dose of Children of Bodom. Unbelievably, you really do hear all of those influences in The Sentencing (and, hey—in my mind, sounding like those bands is nothing but good!). Any fan of true metal will enjoy this album.
To purchase "The Sentencing" send $10 (if in the US) or $12 (if outside the US) in well-concealed cash or money order (payable to Ash Thomas) to: Estuary of Calamity, c/o Ash Thomas, 7321 Hickman, Cincinnati, OH 45231, USA.
Visit their website at http://www.geocities.com/estuaryofcalamity