Evenfall – Cumbersome

Evenfall – Cumbersome - 4/5

Only the second gothic metal album to be included in this three-part special, this is no Nightwish clone. In fact, if you put Lacuna coil, Rhapsody (of Fire) and Dark Tranquillity into a blender it would probably emerge something similar to this. With clean female vocals, high and low pitched growls, hard hitting tribal drums and some of the most addictive ‘flower power’ keyboard lines going, it all sounds like something that should never work. And yet it does.

The drumming is competent, providing a basic hard hitting beat that works well with the guitars to provide a hard-edged backing layer to bang your head to. The guitars largely are relegated to backing duty, though assist to the end result by providing mediocre power-esque solos, nothing special but frequently a welcome break in the track. Even the bass comes through loud and clear more often than not, which is a rather pleasant change. The use of keyboards then provide a further layer on this, used with incredible diversity to create an almost epic, symphonic touch, as well as use as almost lead guitars, he feels under-rated in this line-up and could probably hold his own in his own solo’s given the chance.

On top of all this is the main focal layer; the vocals. The clean female vocals coming through crisp and clear, capable of cutting through all the variety going on behind her, her abilities are wont go down in history as the most proficient, but to say she provided little more than a delicate counterbalance would be understating their value in the resulting sound. In a similar fashion the growls have much the same problem. The deeper growls feel at times monotonous, personally much preferring his more energetic and chaotic sounding higher pitched blackened shrieking, his range is nonetheless extraordinary.

This is an album which doesn’t quite sound like any other, preying off of contrasts, overlaying a aggressive drum/guitar beat with soft keyboards, aggressive growls working in tandem with clean angelic vocals, and yet despite this it often ends up sounding rather similar. For all its creativity in merging styles – successfully I might add – the creativity and abilities of the individuals seem either undeveloped or unfulfilled. Unique, and most definitely an interesting album, this is not one to survive on the playlist for long, it’s unconventional style will wear off, and with this artist having split-up a number of years ago, no follow-up seems likely.

Highlights: Rawish, In Absenti Christi, Overcast Sky

Bonus Round: Evenfall - Still in the Grey Dying - 3.5/5

Since this was requested, the debut effort from Evenfall. This album was released prior to the female vocalist being employed, all the vocals handled by the guitarist (who does the growls here) it lends a rather more blackened touch. Personally, not as impressed, I felt it lacking in variety somewhat, but still a decent enough release.