Reviewed: April 2009
Released: 2008, Blistering Records
Reviewer: Kyle Moore, the Metal Magnus
While listening to Fairytale Abuse’ PERVERSIONS OF ANGEL VI, the only thing running through my mind was this question – why do people so often feel the need to imitate the works of others without improving upon them? At its best, PERVERSIONS is an average symphonic black/death metal album with occasional moments of muted inspiration. But very few things in life are ‘at their best’ much of the time, are they? And things that are unexceptional stick squarely in the eternal quagmire of ‘average.’ Being a very average sort of band, Fairytale Abuse mostly comes across like a pawn-shop Cradle of Filth knockoff that alternates between mediocre riffing, clichéd vocals, and keyboard flourishes that sound like rejected themes for video game characters.
Not that there aren’t some cool moments of note in PERVERSIONS. Instrumental “Curse of the Black Opus” is a reasonably impressive keyboard performance & MIDI orchestration of what I’m assuming is a Romantic-era piano piece. Later track “Power and Signs of the Lying Wonders” is finally able to capture the evil vibe of assumed inspiration band Cradle of Filth, almost to the point where the absence of Dani Filth’s voice is the only distinguishing factor. “Troparion for the White Plague” also has a suitably creepy/evil feel with some nicely layered black metal riffing and some great keyboard work.
But utterly dull tracks like “When One Bleeds” & “At the Gate of Thorns” never go anywhere – both tracks also try to do some interesting rhythmic textures with the drums, but they end up sounding tacky, awkward, and forced…somewhat like most of the entire album. Then comes the video game moments, usually generated by keyboards that set a whole new standard for ‘cheese’ in symphonic black metal. The chorus passage on “A Phenomenon’s Rage – The Burden” sounds like it was a cast-off from theme-writing sessions for Blizzard’s seminal WarCraft II. “The Interdiction of Obscurity” uses a synth opener riff that is markedly similar to tunes from classic FPS “Unreal” in 1998. There are too many bits to list where I imagine Fairytale Abuse sought to craft a soundtrack to a C-grade sci-fi/horror movie.
Brief rays of competency aside, the fact that the greatest achievement on this album is to accurately mimic another band’s sound and feel relegates Fairytale Abuse to my “do-not-recommend” pile of CD’s. If you’re going to offer up a work of art of a pre-existing genre to the critical community, then you need to make damn sure you aren’t copying your forebears*. Symphonic black metal has been done by significantly superior songwriters than this subpar Danish band has to offer.
*I suppose as a disclaimer, I should state that while I enjoy some of Cradle of Filth’s work, I am by no means a drooling CoF fanboy. CoF is a band that has its ups and downs, but the fact stands that their sound is being too closely (and often poorly) mimicked by Fairtytale Abuse for my liking. I am sure that others who listen to this album may disagree for many valid reasons, but my opinion is just that: an opinion.
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