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(46:09, Termo Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Full Fathom Five 3:49 2. Existence 2:57 3. Darkness 5:08 4. Catharsis 3:34 5. Like the Ocean 8:11 6. Into the Mincer 1:41 7. Open the Doors of Janus 5:32 8. Electroution 1:29 9. Skjelvend av Angst 3:46 10. A Force of Nature 2:11 11. Cold Void Messiah 6:51 LINEUP: Lars Fredrik Froislie – drums; vintage keyboards; vocals Thomas Myrvold – bass, guitars, mandolin Niklas Kvarforth – vocals With: Jorgen Munkeby – sax, clarinet (1, 4, 5, 11) Tony Kareid – baritone guitar (3, 5, 6, 7, 9) Jacob Holm-Lupo – guitar, bass (1, 5, 7, 9) Anders Blystad – acoustic guitar (3, 5, 7) Ketil Vestrum Einarsen – flute (1) Thebon – vocals (9) &: A few more guitarists
Prolusion. The Norwegian band IN LINGUA MORTA (ILM hereinafter: for short) is led by Lars Fredrik Froislie, who is also the main mastermind behind Wobbler. The man, besides singing, plays not only keyboards, but also drums here. “Salon des Refuses” (French for “Exhibition of Refusals”: cool title) is the outfit’s second release, following “Bellowing Sea – Racked by Tempest” from 2007, which I haven’t heard.
Analysis. “Salon des Refuses” is one of the finest albums of mental heavy music that I’ve heard this year. It brings together Black Metal and classic, genuine Prog-Metal along with some symphonic and jazz-influenced moves – sometimes all on one track, such as Full Fathom Five, Like the Ocean and Catharsis, the latter one of the two instrumentals present. The music is by and large original, but nonetheless, it reminds me to some extent of a cross between Dimmu Borgir’s “Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia” and “Burnt Offerings” by Iced Earth with ‘elements’ of John Zorn’s “Epsissimus” and Abstrakt Algebra (i.e. Candlemass at its most symphonic) spicing the blend – effectively. Precisely composed, full of explosive melodies, each of these is an innovative piece that does really broaden the progressive black metal frontiers. Indeed, combining absolutely intense-and-heavy guitar work with symphonic arrangements and jazzy improvisations is a winning mixture, on all levels. The sax and clarinet leads play particularly a strong counterpart to the crushing guitar riffs, making for a really fresh sound. Froislie appears to be a chameleon rather than a typically black metal vocalist, and when Niklas Kvarforth joins him (which he does on most of the tracks) the men’s joint singing brings to mind the vocal palette of the aforementioned Iced Earth album, and is often almost as diverse King Diamond’s. The guitar lines are normally rapid and furious, whether Thomas Myrvold is alone at the fore or trading licks with one of the guest axemen, and the band’s use of odd rhythmic measures and dynamic soloing atop killer-heavy riffs can at times be as breathtaking as Voivod or Cynic. Darkness, Skjelvend av Angst, Open the Doors of Janus and Cold Void Messiah are all similar to the described compositions, albeit the jazzy component is either indistinct or completely absent. On the other hand, they are somewhat richer in symphonic colorations, the latter two pieces both featuring refined, Flamenco-style passages of acoustic guitar. On each of the shorter tracks, Existence, Into the Mincer and A Force of Nature, the band only occasionally enters – or rather touches – the symphonic realm, normally playing pure progressive Black Metal that, while pushing all the buttons (so to speak), still retains the vocal diversity found on the primary-style pieces. Finally, Electroution is a brief symphonic interlude, deploying no other instruments but keyboards – a string ensemble and piano, to be more precise.
Conclusion. One of the most significant values of “Salon des Refuses” is that the music does never fully fits into conventional black metal terrain, on either of its levels. This is a brilliant album in almost every way and, at least to my mind, is better than anything by the aforementioned Dimmu Borgir or Cradle Of Filth, let alone the non-progressive units of the genre. Top-20-2010
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