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Penumbra - The Last Bewitchment

01. Neutral
02. Priestess Of My Dreams
03. The Last Bewitchment
04. Moaning On Earth
05. Insurrection
06. Testament
07. The Young Martyr
08. A Torrent Of Fears
09. Pie Jesu

I finally got my hands on The Last Bewitchment a few months ago and was thus introduced to Penumbra. What an experience! This French gothic outfit created a dramatic and fulfilling record back in 2002. I understand they have made some changes since then, but let's revisit this memorable album.

With the first notes we are whisked away into an urgent, compelling, dark symphony. Penumbra is layering bombastic classical music with metal, but avoids sounding like a copy of the symphonic albums from Tristania or Therion. This dark symphony is memorable as Penumbra's work. A hint of melodic black metal influences creep in early on and are well incorporated. The team of vocalists makes their debut in the brilliant opener "Neutral:" clean female and male vocals, death vocals and black vocals. I am most impressed with the use of the soprano; she is single-handedly fulfilling the role of the choir and stays mostly in the background. She teams up with the synth player to create a beautiful atmosphere that will draw you in closer. Most songs are dominated by the extreme vocals in front of her choral singing, but let's not forget the clean male vocals which add a delicate touch to each song.

The first 3 songs are each unique but still keep us connected to the central musical theme of this album. This rush continues until the 6th song "Testament" quietly breaks us out of the epic mood for a lovely little ballad. The first 2 minutes are quiet and ambient with Medusa, the female singer, serenading us. The song slowly gains momentum though to finally leave us at the same high energy level as the rest of the album. This mood flows quite well; giving us a chance to catch our breath!

The only disappointments here are the middle tracks "Moaning on Earth" and "Insurrection" which are both a bit static and not at all memorable. They do their job in keeping with the mood and atmosphere of The Last Bewitchment but don't add anything special.

While this album may need time to grow on you it is certainly special. I feel the musician's energy through my stereo, as if Penumbra is proud to share this recording with me.

Band profile: Penumbra
Album: The Last Bewitchment


Written on 11.06.2005 by
Susan appreciates quality metal regardless of sub-genre. Metal Storm Staff since 2006.

Twitter: @HeavyMetalSusan
More reviews by Susan ››


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Comments: 8  
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VaronoZz - 13.07.2006 at 15:58  
High quality... 10
Bash' - 17.07.2006 at 15:09  
some songs are good,
and some not a lot

still good at all.. it contains 3 killer songs
RazorOfTheLight - 04.08.2006 at 08:55  
There was a time many years ago where I came to believe Anorexia Nervosa was the only good band to come out of France. Now I have come to the realization many years later that this is not the case. Of these many bands this just so happens to be one of those great bands. Maybe it was before many bands mimicked this style or maybe they remain unique, but they are defiantly a band I've held apart from the herd.
Jason W. - 19.06.2007 at 11:56  
The first track on this CD, in fact the first few seconds alone, are so impressive and haunting to me that I find them creeping into my mind randomly, even after not hearing the CD for months! I think it's great to see that your thoughts here are nearly equal to mine on this subject! "Urgent" is a perfect word here

I just today received my retail copy in the mail after a few years of having the MP3's, and am surprised I waited so long. This CD will stand as a "hidden gem" in my collection for years to come. So far, it's Penumbra's best work to me... While I agree in full to the spirit of your review here, I really don't find many flaws with this CD and think it's a brilliant piece of work, so I'd rate a little higher. But great review here, I hope more people get a chance to purchase this disc, it's worth it.
Bash' - 19.06.2007 at 13:26  
Moaning on Earth is a really briliant song ..!

I liked it really .. sad Lyrinan didn't like it .. give it a chance it's one of my top fav.s for Penumbra
WindMyth - 06.07.2007 at 05:32  
This album is great, I love all the songs... one of the best gothic albums i've heard
omjaimes - 18.02.2008 at 22:42  
This album shows that it is possible to mix electronic components with a good metal without to fall in the extremes or to be listened very popular.
A defect, for moments the lyrics are not very understandable mainly in the parts with classic choir
I give it a 9.
Thordelan - 17.10.2008 at 21:27  
Written by omjaimes on 18.02.2008 at 22:42

This album shows that it is possible to mix electronic components with a good metal without to fall in the extremes or to be listened very popular.

the album "Intuispection" by Beyon-D-Lusion is another very good exemple (+ some oriental influences). Another french band with one album so far, still looking for a label for the second one I believe.

ps: no, I don't belong to the band, neither am a friend of them, but I though this band does fit your quote. ~:)

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