Lets take a break from all this lo-fi, made-in-my-brothers-basement, indie rock, and turn our attention to some extravagant, elegant symphonic black metal from the home of all classical music, Austria!
Classical symphonies and black metal don’t usually meet, but when they do, sparks fly. Both styles have their somber and melancholic sound and yet can be big and bombastic. The harshness of the growls and drums makes a good juxtaposition to the pleasant and beautiful melodies of the symphony.
Estatic Fear was founded in 1994 with the vision to join together the classical music with cellos, pianos, flutes and lutes, with dark and Gothic metal. Their first album, Somnium Obmutum, got quite a lot of attention when it was released in 1996 by both the local media and underground metal fans. But it was their second album, A Somber Dance, that really made a following. While the second album made them more known, I do not like A Somber Dance as much as Somnium Obmutum, the overall music feels less inspired, the metal parts are less and the female vocals are a bit crap to be frank.
Somnium Obmutum consists of two short instrumental interludes between two epic songs. The title track is a long journey through melancholic, forlorn gardens of long forgotten melodies of cellos, and moments of harsh clarity of bitterness, regret and sorrow. The duet of the sweet (and somewhat iffy) female operatic vocals and the rough male growls, may be a bit cliche but they do their job and are quite enjoyable. And I like that they sing in three different languages, Latin, English and German. Just make sure you are commited to sitting down and listen to the whole album since the title track is clocking in at 32:18, and you really want to listen to it in one sitting to get the complete enjoyment of the album. Despite the length the songs never feel boring or overstay their welcome, there is always something new to be heard just around the corner.
Non the less, if you enjoy a bit of doom-ish metal with excellent orchestral string accompaniment give it a chance! If you on the other hand do not enjoy Gothic metal, this album would probably not change your mind.
I. Des Nachtens Suss’ Gedone
II. Somnium Obmutum
III. As Autumn Calls
IIII. Ode to Solitude