Rannoch
Reflections Upon Darkness

So recently, I have received a few progressive experimental and often symphonic metal/death metal albums. The Outsider‘s one man effort, From Ancient and Forbidden Books, Orbit Culture’s hammering, Gojira worshiping self titled album, and this, the second effort from the UKs Rannoch.

With Opeth and Gojira worn openly on their sleeve, Rannoch delivers 12 tracks (with 3 interludes) and 69 minutes of ambitious, progressive metal that has its moments, but also never quite hits a truly brilliant sweet spot to really stick with you with despite all its orchestral bluster and constant style shifts.

The band certainly aims high with the album’s material and production values, all having A list potential and skill. But within the aforementioned 69 minutes, there are only a few moments of special, memorable music. Sure, there is plenty of stern, shuddering death metal riffs and grooves, an array of vocal styles, some spacey dramatic orchestration and such, almost all of it delivered in 8 minute, true opener “De Heptarchia Mystica” or “Despair”. But while I enjoyed the album, I really never felt myself taken aback or wishing to revisit a certain song or riff.

Even when the band digs a little deeper into the more obvious Opeth-ian realms and contrasting heavy/light hues such as “The Hanged Man”, “The Dream”, “The Devoured” or the mammoth 9 minute closer “Void”, the material is certainly ambitious, well played and masterfully rendered, but largely forgetful.

A pretty good, ambitious album for sure. That said, deeper, further listens, certainly may unravel a truly splendid album at some point.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 8th, 2020

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