Sear Bliss
Eternal Recurrence

Viktor Scheer and András Nagy are the only holdovers from the last album. Viktor producing and András doing virtually everything else.Everything old is new again. Welcome back founding guitarists János Barbarics and Csaba Csejtei. János played on The Pagan Winter, Phantoms and Haunting, Csaba played on The Pagan Winter, Phantoms, Forsaken Symphony and Glory And Perdition. Also back is Olivér Ziskó, who played on Forsaken Symphony and takes the drum stool here. Trumpeter Balázs Bruszel is a new arrival who also plays keyboards. Eternal Recurrence indeed. There were several guest musicians as well, notably horn players. I Divine is worth pursuing to follow the four departed members but let us get back on target here.

The symphonic atmospheric approach is still the driving force with the shackles of black metal still holding them down but they are so adept at what they do they are no longer weighted down by the conventions black metal dictates that they adhere to. With considerably more rope the shackles are more like tethers now. Without question they are still a black metal band but avant-garde experimentation is now the driving force. Complex multi-layered textures and frequent time changes are important and dense compositions that demand careful listening reward those that do not dismiss the music to the background.

Once again we get intensity and ferocity blended with moody, melancholic moments and beautiful symphonic passages that blend harmoniously with both the atmospheric flourishes and the in your face blasting. The one new element is clean vocals, which as a general rule ruins metal for me. It is not the dominant style here and is not even as pervasive as what Enslaved does now, and is actually done very well. I’m sorry to hear it but glad it is there, if that expresses anything. It is an element I usually can do without but if it really fits the composition by all means do it, just do it right. Where the clean vocals are most bothersome is “Entering the Seventh Gate” that is also where they are most prominent. “There Is No Shadow Without Light” highlights the clean vocals as well but the delivery does not whine quite as much. The vocals are worth getting through, killer song.

If you count yourself a fan of Ihsahn or Enslaved do yourself a favor and get this disc. If you are a long time Sear Bliss fan listen all the way through two of three times, that is all it will take to get back on board. I was sold by the one minute fifteen second mark of “The Eternal Quest.” With seven powerful songs that flow together well it is hard to pick a favorite out of context but I’d definitely check out “Ballad of the Shipwrecked” and “Great Cosmic Disorder.” “A Lost Cause” may be skipable but thats it. “The New Era Of Darkness” also stands out, notably because of the harsh vocals and the double bass/ bass guitar attack. Some simple riffs on guitar recur to tie everything together and the melodic ending is eloquently simple. Too bad the album is so short.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
February 3rd, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    first customer! I haven’t heard anything since Glory but eager to check this out


  2. Commented by: stiffy

    Wow I really like this. I’m a bit surprised. This is kind of next level shit. Awesome.


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