Octagon – Artisans of Cruelty

octagon_052206_artisansMuddy production aside, “Artisans of Cruelty” really is a well-written and organic sounding, black metal influenced album. I say it’s BM influenced since Octagon possess their own aggressive tone that is more powerful than your often imitated, Norwegian styled black metal which focuses on cold/melodic dissonance. The guitars on this album exhale with a full, warm breath of room ambience, which gives the album an atypical atmosphere. Full chord riff ideas put me in mind of “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” that give the tracks an instantly memorable aura, before breaking off into more thrash influenced, note dominant music breaks that act as a nice stylistic shift into less cluttered areas of musical distinction. The end result is very well considered as Octagon strives to create dark and strangely depressive anthems their own way. Vocally, a mid-ranged snarl/aggressive shouting style maintains a black metal level of execution, but even though Mortigan’s vocals uphold the full bodied feel of the music, his vocal patterns tend to stick too closely to the movement/accents in the riffs. He constantly stretches syllables across the actual beats, which for the first time, allows a level of predictability to enter this 2 pieces music. More adventurous/inventive lyrical placement would really help this band further down the path on future albums. To end where I started… I really like the roomy feel and sound of this album (the guitars in particular), but once again, “Artisans…” comes off as a bit too dim/muddy. A different mix, or a more aggressive mastering job would have really given this album the much-needed boost in the high-end department. I guess it just sounds too compressed. Anyway, this is a minor gripe in light of such well-written material from a band that has discovered their identity. Looking forward to the follow-up. -Marty

~ by martyworm on January 3, 2009.

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