Ensepulchred – The Night our Rituals Blackened the Stars

ensepulchred_032707_thenighHad Emperor had Xasthur as an influence back in the mid 90’s, Ensepulchred would be the outcome.” A rather bold/interesting proclamation indeed, but Ensepulchred simply cannot live up to the hype expressed in the bio. For one thing, “The Night our Rituals Blackened the Stars” is very 1 dimensional… that right there nixes both the Emperor and Xasthur comparisons in one fell swoop. Stylistically, Xasthur is the closest point of reference, for Ensepulchred maintains a synth heavy underground black metal persona, but where Malefic dooms the listener with infinite layers of dread and atmosphere with his keyboard use, Ensepulchred favors using the instrument rather 1 dimensionally. The synth lines act as the main guitar riff for every song and the mechanically altered guitar tone (they possess a very processed/industrial quality) is very minimal in attendance, often lurking off in the back ground beneath the cold veil of technology, if there is any guitar in the song at all. The style in which the keyboards are used are also very simplistic, focusing on progressions that are based on 1 finger melodies. Chords are seemingly never used which also makes this release feel very shallow. The drum machine sounds equally as lifeless due to the lack of musical layers which generally mask the thin/rhythmically sterile nature of rudimentarily programmed patterns. The electronically distorted vocal style is the only element on this album that I actually appreciated the most, for it’s the one thing that possesses an organic feel within the screamers mid-ranged, black metal rasp, even though the sameness in his lyrical placement and delivery does become tiresome by the midway point of this album. “The Night our Rituals Blackened the Stars” earns a few points for trying something different from the rest of the underground black metal realm, but their songs are greatly lacking in just about every category to make this album even remotely interesting. The songs all sound the same and it’s hard to find the ambition or desire to put on something for a closer inspection when you know a band puts all their cards on the table during the 1st song. – Marty

~ by martyworm on January 3, 2009.

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