Smargroth - Empyreal Cycle
|Melodic black metal is a tricky genre. There's not much room for expansion or experimentation. In order to succeed in such a limited environment, you need to write good songs.
Smargroth has at least partially succeeded at that. The first track off the album, "Celestial Epitome", kicks off with such overwhelming conviction and potency that it's hard not to succumb to its charm. A relentless guitar attack, thundering blastbeats and excellent vocals, all that spiced up by very melodic riffage. The song gallops, then slows down, then speeds up again, every tempo change timely and interesting. Everything is spot on - memorable, catchy and to the point. It really whets the appetite for the rest. The next three tracks live up to the expectations, especially "Emerging Misery", a truly excellent track, the high point of the album. The angry guitarwork, apart from being plain great, reminds me of Satyricon's Nemesis Divina which, at least in my eyes, is a huge compliment.
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