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Upon The Shores of Inner Seas
Released: 2000, Century Media Records
Mental Home are from Russia. I had to get that out first because I can't think of any band I've reviewed so far that are from Russia! The beginnings of this band date back to 1993 when the band were playing doomy death metal. This is the bands fifth album, their first licensed by Century Media and the first that I've heard from them.
Most, but not all, of Mental Home's death/doom vestiges have been cast aside. In places the music can sound confused because of this. The opening two songs on the CD are by far the strongest. They are "Downstairs" and "Late To Revise." Both are up-tempo with killer drumming and riffing. The vocals are different from many other bands. They are not brutal nor are they overly melodic. I think they are OK but need the most work out of all the other elements. The keyboards are prominent in the mix, giving an atmospheric and almost gothic feel. Track three, "Eternal Moon" is catchy but weird. The vocals have a pop-punk kind of sound to them. The chorus is a bit silly with these immensely loud keyboards. There's even a funk bass part in the song - now you know what I mean when I say this band sounds confused. Experimenting is OK, but that is a bit too weird for my metallic tastes. "Against My Will" is one of the tracks on the CD that shows that this band came from a much more aggressive past. My theory on the song title is that the singer didn't want to sing on it so he called it "Against My Will" haha...there are more parts in this song that are instrumental then have vocals!! There's a few blast beats on the drums and tremelo picking on the guitar. It's not long-lived but it's a cool element for a band to be able to inject into their sound. I doubt there's many other gothic sounding metal bands that throw that into the mix! This song may even appeal to fans atmospheric black metal. The CD's strongest point is by far the drummer, Igor Dmitriev! This guy manages to bash out some totally killer beats and double kicks that breathe life into some parts that would of otherwise sounded weak. For example the so-so song "Bliss" has a very cool technical sounding guitar/bass thing at about the 3:00 mark. Things like that are found in every song and is what held my attention. The guitar riffs are mostly cool although their are not a lot of leads.
If this was a little less on the gothic/doom/atmospheric sounds I would of liked it a lot more. The band is not without hope (after all I did give it a 3 out of 5). Maybe with stronger vocals and more songs like the CD's two opening tracks they would be set to make some serious waves.
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