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(45 min, Metal Mind)
TRACK LIST: 1. Prophet 6:11 2. Ganges 6:20 3. Komatrance 3:44 4. On the Border 3:49 5. Cold Obsession in My Eyes 6:40 6. Absinthe 4:17 7. The Secret Window 3:50 8. Brutal Ground 5:10 9. In His Room 4:00 10. Where Next 1:16 PERSONNEL: Marcin Piwowarczyk - guitars Katarzyna Rachwalik - keyboards Piotr Labuzek - sampling, keyboards Tomasz Rutkowski - drums; guitars Mariusz Sowinski - basses Pawel Kluchewski - vocals With: Kacia Malenda - female vocals Sebastien Goralik - guitars
Prolusion. Poland's CEMETERY OF SCREAM (COS hereinafter) was formed in 1992 by guitarist and composer Marcin Piwowarczyk, who now remains the only founding member in the band. Their website is under reconstruction, but the press kit says the band is held in respect all over Europe, being especially popular in Germany and, of course, in their motherland. "The Event Horizon" is the first COS studio album in five years, though overall, their creative activity is quite stable, which is clear from the rest of their discography: "Sameone" (1993), "Melancholy" (1995), "Deepression" (1997), "Fin De Siecle" (1999), "Prelude to a Sentimental Journey" (2001).
Analysis. I am glad to establish as a fact that the revolutionary discoveries of Black Sabbath still find their further evolution nowadays, and if some of the followers of the Doom Metal Icon have indulged in narcissism, mainly imitating their idols (Saint Vitus, Trouble), some of the others heavily simplified their music with time, having stepped onto a busy commercial highway (the same Anathema, Tiamat), none of this concern the heroes of this occasion, although they're already on the road for 14 years. I am going to resort to some comparisons in this review, but first I have to make a reservation that it's like drawing parallels between the outward appearance of the representatives of Europeoid, Negroid and other human races: each has one head, two eyes, two ears and so on, with which however all the resemblances are exhausted. In any event, the music of COS holds something ineradicable as blood, which is peculiar exclusively to it. All the music on this recording is richly and variedly arranged, either bordering on unorthodox Prog-Metal or just being such. The only exception from that rule is the short piece Where Next. A choir of a few overdubbed voices dramatically singing to passages of semi-acoustic guitar sets up a definite mood (widespread on the album), which however hangs in mid-air inasmuch as this piece concludes the CD, so would've been more effective if it were used as an intro. The first three songs are somewhat richer in archetypal Doom Metal features than most of the further ones, combining purely atmospheric, pronouncedly hard and mixed atmospherically-heavy arrangements, all of which however have a strong symphonic sense, those involving the entire band being performed with odd meters. Prophet reminds me in a way of a cross between Stigmata from "Abstract Algebra" by Candlemass:-) and Do You Dream of Me from Tiamat's "Wildhoney", though Bathory's "Twilight of the Gods" and early Moonspell are also relatively suggestive. Ganges is similar, but it also stands out for several amazingly executed acoustic guitar solos whose overtones often resemble those of sitar, plus there is a mixed male/female opera-like choir singing (some vocal parts being certainly overdubbed) which, in combination with the music, evokes "Theli" and the like creations by Therion. Surprisingly, Komatrance resembles The Alan Parsons Project, combining their classic style with Doom Metal. There are distinctively 'dancing' keyboard passages that can be met in most of the classic recordings of The Project. Anyway, all three are atmospheric Doom Metal overall, with great guitar work, inventive keyboards, excellent vocals and an obvious epic verve, which persists throughout the CD, regardless of the songs' durations. The monumental, obscure like-clouds-over-the-autumn-Scandinavia, somewhat cold, yet very beautiful music - a window to a continuous astral trance. If you like a misty-cloudy, full of mysterious atmosphere, you will be blown away with these. While the band never keep too long on one spot on the first three, their rejection of highly intricate arrangements in this particular case is fully justified. The inexperienced listener will have time to prepare himself for more adventurous events, which will not be long in following. On the Border, The Secret Window and In His Room are comparable with the described tracks, but are much richer in acoustic guitar and piano (and also sampled violin and cello) evolving both separately and in the context of massive arrangements and are noticeably more diverse in general, revealing many pleasing contrasting transitions. The absolute progressive winners are the remaining three compositions: Cold Obsession in My Eyes, Absinthe and Brutal Ground, each featuring amazing opera-like vocalizations from a female singer in places, as well as light oriental flavors, especially obvious on Absinthe. On each of these the music doesn't blend with any particular genre. There are no limits in anything, the group with ease jumping from slow to rapid arrangements with machine-gun-fire-like tattoos from a drummer's twofold bass drum, expressive electric guitar solos springing up as if spontaneously and precise start-stop exercises, though there are also plenty of those done at varied in-between tempos. After an almost symphonic intro with atmospheric keyboard roulades follows a fragment performed at maximum speed, which suddenly slips into a semi-acoustic chamber-like interlude, then starts off a biting Techno Metal bringing to mind Iced Earth's "Burnt Offering", etc and so on, everything breathing a mystic aura. From harsh and exciting full-throated roars in speedy arrangements to melancholically-philosophic vocals in more lyrical ones, Pawel Kluchewski (a genuine chameleon singer) both widely and aptly uses his range, making the vocal palette saturated by managing without any really brutal intonations.
Conclusion. Those liking the well-known works cited as examples in the Analysis section can already get an idea of how wonderfully this album should sound. However, COS never forget their "personal image" - that very factor which determines identity. Their latest creation shows that there are still no confines for the development of Doom Metal (or any other style either). There are not many bands that would be on a par with COS in this field today - whether in originality as such or in the realization of new ideas. Highly recommended to everyone considering any manifestations of the extendable genre Prog-Metal.
VM: Agst 3, 2006
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