Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cry of Silence - Walking Through the Eternal Tragedy (2007)

A decidedly intriguing hybrid of Burzum's wrist slitting monolith Filosofem and the obfuscated grandeur of Summoning's earlier catalog, Cry of Silence presents itself as one of the more well honed relics of depression in the Hellenic black metal scene. That's not to say that this debut, Walking Through the Eternal Tragedy is all that revelatory or memorable, because its ultimately average at best, succumbing to the gravest of ills that plague its chosen niche, but the production itself is appreciable, with raw walls of guitar melody expanding and contracting beneath the ghastly, resonant rasp of frontman Granath. Like Burzum, this is a one man show, with all instruments being delivered in due agony, and the Greek seems competent enough with each to pass muster.

Where he's not so successful, though, is in the construction of riffs. In sheer compositional value. The album opens with swells of tonal wind, brooding synthesizers and the cawing of blackbirds to great effect, conjuring forth the glory of the aforementioned Austrians in their prime (okay, so they've always been in their prime). And then, the lush blood pools forth in the slow spread of "In My Dreams", an 8 minute track that frankly could have used some editing and refinement. For one, the guitars grow old quickly, cycles of notes that might have remained likable after a half dozen repetitions, but not this many... For another, practically nothing else happens EVER in this song. It's the same pattern droning ever on, with no subtle gradations, no ramping of its inherent masochism, aside from a slight acceleration of tempo which falls short of concern. And this is the bane of the entire album!

Gardens of grief like the title track (over 9 minutes) grow moldy and stagnant within mere minutes, and even the mildly faster fare like "In the Dark Side of Despair" or "In the Majesty of Death and Mortality") fall to the same mindless architecture. So you're riding this massive and woeful wave of monotony, wondering when it will break upon some climactic beachhead, and you seem frozen in time, the knife never carving the flesh deep enough to let loose the life. What sad times are these when albums with such immediate potential downgrade themselves to walloping boors within mere minutes. The ambient fixtures that book-end Walking Through the Eternal Tragedy are quite nice, and the production element is ripe for the plunder of unpleasantry, but it's yet another entrant in the field of lower tier black metal which flops at the fundamental principle of metallic dissertation: the guitar riff.

I like the simplicity of Granath's approach, the stark beauty of the hooded rider, the logo, but since the debut doesn't have that same suicidal novelty that an album like Filosofem culled a decade prior, it rises and subsides like a forgotten, breezy haze.

Verdict: Indifference [5.75/10]

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