CAPITOLLIUM “Engraved Fear”

The band, which was formed in Ukraine at 2001, recorded the new 12 songs with the following line-up: A. Sinless (solo guitar), Orchidea (vocal), St. Julius (vocal, bassguitar, synthesizer, drums). Their previous materials („Undivine Antipathy” EP 2002, „Symphony Of Possession”, „Seraphim’s Lair” CD 2004) successfullycame through, and the upcoming album - despite changing the members so often- didn’t have a bad influence on the main goal. The lyrics dealing with stuff like the Antichrist and mysticism don’t really creates the foundation of a solid conception, but observing it in a figurative sense, after all they are. The first track is the 20 second long Within A Cathedral. To tell the truth, this intro is just based on a few effects with a pleasant atmosphere. The I Am The Night starts with a determined church organ, afterwards there comes a frivolous drum machine, which really freaked me out just like a few organ beats coming later on. The song wouldn’t be so bad, i could also imagine this symphonic metal material for example in a vampire movie, of course if it is prepared with more chicelled care. I could find a lot of briliant ideas in it, despite the fact that the style is more close to industrial and the vocal sounds sometimes really awful.

The Rules Of Pain isn’t better at all, but it composes a very interesting atmosphere with an impression of gothic and industrial style at the same time, just like listening to the mixture of Grabesmord and Laibach. No absolutely new ideas, but the different parts dominate pretty well with gentle superimposition. The Fear Me Not already tries to bring a new interesting sound within the category of black metal, just a smack of mixing, which turns out to be a great leading route (I haven’t heard the Bloodfall Of Flesh from 2008),and the solo is also a very good job in the end. The Why I’ll Die? seems too banal for me, the picture remains half-hearted, despite finding some unique fillings too. The Testimony In Impregnation creates a deep cemetery atmosphere, it has only a few conspicouos fault : the vocal and guitar sounding would still need some improvement.

The Subdued Pride starts with a complicated solo, and it follows a discursive rhythm leaning almost towards the fields of death metal, unfortunately having destroyed by a really awful synthesizer theme… generally saying, it also wouldn’t be so bad, but I still need something more here. The Monarch Of The Red has a common sounding, starting with a doom base, which mainly consists of a slow organ sounding. The vocal really holds down the sound of the drums, and the carrying-on sounds really like a nightmare, i just couldn’t accept it. The Brands Of Innocence starts with an electro base, this mixture of EBM and black metal creates a really furious industrial goth-rock compound. We can say, it’s not a bad structure at all, but I miss the real instruments, and a heavy sound mixing. My opinion is that the Twilight Chariot also seems to be far from black metal. This goth featured song also unites definite parts of dath/black sounds, but it doesn’t mean a problem here, after all some more work would be necessary. The field Of Disrecpect can be really weird for first listening, mixing the metal with some machine made noises isn’t a new creation, thinking now about the bands like: Diabolos Rising, Ministry, and Laibach. Above all, the song is really good structured, not just a banal„vampire castle song”.

Theoretically saying the Untitled is a bonus track, but I think it is a really unnecessary experimental piece here. It doesn’t fit in this album in its present condition. That’s it, no more to say. My opinion is that the album is pretty enjoyable, thanks to the great ideas, and the moving atmospheres. But, there are also a lot of little problematic stuff here, and they should all be corrected. The most important would be a good studio, and real instruments of course (apart from the effects). Something more? Time definitely, and patience. I can advise to everybody, who really likes the vampire castle atmosphere:)

CAPITOLLIUM “Engraved Fear”

It can be quite difficult for Metal fans when one of their favourites becomes popular. In the vast world of Heavy Metal (and its rich plethora of subgenres) there is a Catch 22 at play when it comes to reaching a broad audience. On the one hand it means success, a deeper, broader fanbase and the money and fame required to make more and, presumably, better music. On the other hand, mass appeal tends to cheapen the genre and opens doors for more hero worship from young, naive bands. In this specific case, DIMMU BORGIR and CRADLE OF FILTH are the culprits who brought Black Metal to the mid-ground and broke it free of its underground constraints by including melody, symphonic elements and general accessibility. Suffice to say, this caused some backlash. Now it would be completely unfair to say that Ukraine’s CAPITOLLIUM are total copy cats of the aforementioned bands, but they take more than a few cues from them. Certainly they lack the big label, big budget and big band (it’s only one musician) that is required to create their music, but it does not appear to be their purpose to fully emulate their heroes. Unfortunately, a few listens of their fourth release “Engraved Fear” reveals far more of that than was likely intended. The one-man-band, St. Julius utilizes a clear growl that is well enunciated and understandable much in the same vein as DIMMU’S Shagrath or IMMORTAL’S Abbath. Seeing as how it is a Black Metal band with one lone musician it isn’t unfair to assume nearly everything on the album has been synthesized. From the guitars right down to the drums, “Engraved Fear” is the work of a Black Metal robot. Tinny drums plod along at rather limited speeds, never really breaking out into blast beats or even double-bass rhythms save for “Subdued Pride” and “Brands Of Innocence”. The guitars are given that chainsaw-like effect that is common place in the genre, however the effect goes almost too far as at various times it actually sounds like real chainsaws. Metal is a highly instrumental style of music and unless you intend to go Avant-Garde, there really shouldn’t be any doubt as to the legitimacy of the instrumentation. Alexander Sinless, however, acts as guest musician on the album and performs some extremely impressive shreds on several notable tracks, especially the aforementioned “Subdued Pride” and “I Am The Night”. This is a touch counterproductive, though, as it makes the grating, synthesized guitars seem more mechanical in comparison. As far as the Symphonic elements go, there aren’t actually any apart on the untitled closer. What there IS a lot of are organ and bell effects that are presumably meant to give the atmosphere of a cathedral (as indicated by the intro). “Monarch Of The Red” even contains some operatic female vocals to give that brooding, gothic effect. There is a lot of tooling with some industrial and darkwave elements throughout the disc such as on “Why I’ll Die” and “Field Of Disrespect”, but they are left to merely bubble on the surface without ever really becoming prominent. What the album basically comes down to is fear. It seems that St. Julius has a ton of great ideas and wicked plans to really take his band into some intriguing territory but he is simply too scared. He is caught in between the progressive thoughts and ideas of his heroes and the fanbase that he is likely to alienate by taking the chance. The choral and gothic effects he fiddled with were especially effective and if mixed with an increase in some industrial and darkwave, could create a legitimately creative album. Unfortunately, he has not realized that he has settled too far away from the rawness of pure Black and has been both fairly and unfairly lumped in with other DIMMU-esque projects. Until he finally moves on, “Engraved Fear” is a very bland, middle-of-the-road album in which nearly every song sounds like its predecessor. Four albums in though, it seems like there are no plans on making that leap into the darkness. For Fans of: DIMMU BORGIR, KOVENANT, HOSPICE

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