By definition “Desiderium” is what one would consider a “bedroom black metal” band although I hope they become recognized as something much more than that. Desiderium are loaded with the “post rock” style melodies that have been taking over black metal as of late and transforming “black metal” into something new entirely. The bands that Desiderium remind me of most strongly are Agalloch and Alcest. With those two comparisons in mind you already know whether or not you like this band.
This album starts off with an obnoxiously long piano intro that reminds me a little too much of Burzum’s “Han Som Reiste” with the constant stream of quarter notes. This intro then flows into the song “
” which also has an intro rendering the first song rather pointless in my opinion. This is a minor problem because a person can easily skip the first song and be left with a brilliant 5 song album. Forest of Forgotten Memories
What sets this band apart from other Starbucks drinking hipster black metal acts is the progressive metal influence. The song “Pale Cloak of Dawn” is a prime example of this. About half way through the song everything stops except the bass (did I mention you can hear the bass) and a jazzy melody comes in that wouldn’t be out of place on a Cynic album. There are a lot of different ideas presented on this release and there are always lots of things going on musically but at no point does it ever feel cluttered or “over the top.”
The guitar work is very good; there are excellent solos and melodies over most of the riffs. It would seem that Phillip is a very proficient guitarist as he demonstrates tremendous amounts of talent in his guitar work. The vocals are excellent, I can literally understand every word Michael says without having to strain my ears. There are two styles of vocals present; a harsh rasp (closely resembling Agalloch) and a strong powerful clean delivery. The clean vocals are very strong but only show up in the last two songs for brief moments. I would have liked to hear more clean vocals on this release, hopefully there will be more on future releases. The drums are programmed very well and do not distract from the music in any way shape or form. There is a heavy synth presence which adds depth and character to the album without distracting from the guitars.
My personal favorite track would have to be the last one “The Passing of Life from Troubled Eyes.” This is the most varied song on the album by far, it has clean vocals in the chorus and the rest of the song seamlessly flows from slow hypnotic doom metal to blistering fast black metal with tremolo riffs and blast-beats. This song finishes off the album with a somber sounding symphonic part that sounds about 100 times cooler than the intro. If you are a fan of “shoe-gaze/post rock” influenced black metal I recommend you download this ASAP! If you are looking for “blastbeats of blasphemy” drenched in “hate static” you WILL be disappointed.
Download here: http://desiderium.bandcamp.com/album/an-image-of-solitude
Curt’s rating: 90%