Blood Stained Dusk – Black Faith Inquisition – 3.5/5
No mere Emperor clone, this is a mid-paced symphonic black metal band with one major difference; the production feels warming. Gone are the icy depths of the genre in favour of a more palatable option, and with plenty of tasty tremolo riffs that aren’t overpowered by the atmospheric keyboard work, this results in solid (if lengthy) slab of satanic mayhem.
Unquestionably the major driving force behind this performance is the constant presence of the guitars, frequently relegated to rhythmic duty they perform a variety of tremolo riffs that the accommodating production allows to feel crisp and clear, providing a simplistic variety that whilst none too memorable sustains interest for much of the albums duration. It is, however, his all too infrequent solos that show off his creative capabilities, often feeling more akin to power metal in the manner it succeeds in sustaining the flow, with a tremendous variety of pitch it lends an odd, yet not entirely unfitting tone to the proceedings, succeeding in breaking up what could become a monotonous affair. Combined with the keyboards, the lengthy tracks (most hitting the 10 minute mark) feel epic in proportions, almost ‘Viking’ in tone in the same manner as Summoning succeeded in doing so with their opus magnum “Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame,” in their majestically bombastic in nature.
It is perhaps a shame that in their crisp and clear style more effort could not have been made for the drumming. Feeling left behind, only the snare really making a notable presence over the cacophony of the guitars and keyboards, too often heard blast beating in the background his lack of fills and interludes felt sorely missed, and indeed appears only capable of the most basic of beats. Even worse then is the status of the bassist, unheard for the most of this piece. The vocals too feel too often mediocre. Unafraid of letting the instrumentation reign, he layers a high pitched growl for much of the proceedings, far too monotonous, only really with his deeper growl and occasional cackling breaking up the proceedings. Instead it his all too infrequent clean vocals that surprised me, proving his capabilities outside of his normal style, and whilst too feeling fairly mediocre, certainly succeeded in shaking the style too readily observed.
I can appreciate the effort that has gone into working each of the layers in a coherent manner; particularly with regards to the keys and guitar work, where all too often one dominates the proceedings, the choice to clean up the production results in the sensation that it is missing a certain hard-edged to it, still retaining a sense of darkness about it but without a certain bite and inevitably forcing a somewhat unenthused sound at times. There are some excellent shows of creativity, but feels as though much of it could do with a trim - the 5 minute introductory track highlighting the issue of being excessively long – and yet despite this creativity there is little that feels distinct, whilst performed well, it feels as though the ideas have been done before. To conclude, this is a solid piece of music which warm toned production may well serve as an interesting introduction to the genre, but is perhaps likely to be all too readily forgotten.