For fans of Rotting Christ, Dimmu Borgir, Satyricon and Morgul, it says. This is the Danish band’s second album release.
Leaving aside those comparisons, what I heard was a gothic-orientated doom-death chamber of horrors. The clue is in the titles: “The Horror”, “Night Sweet Night”. A symphonic element crawls through the overt nastiness of “Night Sweet Night”. It’s a strange mix with a pagan-style chorus preceding a flamboyant classic metal section, which ends the track in oblivion. “Until Death” takes on a different aspect. Growled images followed by a spoken part suggests epic on the face of it but terrifying as it may be intended to be, I just found it mixed up and less than convincing. This seems to be about creating horrific atmospheres, and that’s fine, but it’s as if too much effort and thought has gone into the production as we lurch between styles of musicianship. Again “Until Death” ends with a flamboyant guitar section but it’s inconclusive. This all reminds me of some of the bombastic battle metal you used to get in the 00s. The lyrics are pompous and exaggerated while the music is all over the place. At best it’s avant-garde. “Drive” starts with a melancholic soundscape and spoken words to match the evident darkness. A distant epic chorus kicks in, presumably to add an ethereal touch but instead of developing anything, as ever it just runs out with a whimper. This for me was becoming a collection of uncoordinated eerie and dark atmospheres. It’s black but like a rocket, which fizzles out on a damp night. The church organ strikes up briefly before heaviness takes over. There’s a tinge of modern black metal and then a pungent horror story ensues as “Forever Young” marches on darkly. This might do better if it was longer and allowed to infect our soul but these four or five minute tracks replace impact with bewildering content. This self-proclaimed death-worshipping black metal has musical quality, none more so than the powerful dirge which starts the title track, which has the rarity of retaining the same style of gloomy ambience throughout. The album ends with “Hurt Them”. The unusual sound production, the gloomy piano tune, mistiness and fire all hint at what we have been missing.
I remain unconvinced. Undoubtedly there is musical talent and creativity of thought but this just doesn’t hang together in any coherent or convincing way. For me “Death Epic” was a series of sounds reflecting morbid gloom in a blackened way but it’s so exaggerated and overproduced that I couldn’t connect to it.
(4/10 Andrew Doherty)