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Sacramentum - Finis Malorum
Review: This is heavy and beautiful, flowing black metal from Sweden reminiscent at times of At The Gates, but that comparison is mainly from the harmonic ability and melodic sensibility combined with the speed of strumming more than a statement of similar goals. Like the closest things to this, Dissection and Immortal, these Swedes make from a hybrid of heavy metal and current death/black technique a style in which melodic phrasing and shape of tonal construction alone weigh in above the milieu.
Below the guitar is the structural sympathy with nonlinear ideas of rhythm, an intensely experimental drive to the music. Guitar playing here is frenetically rhythmic, whether at speed or in one of the slower, more melodic parts that help to form the sense of power behind this music, which builds intensity and then drops it or modulates it with amazing instrumental sections of running guitars, shifting drums and overall rhythmic and harmonic collusion toward producing a bafflingly beautiful but dark music.
It is "heavy" for those who can appreciate heaviness as music having manic intensity and insanely complex ideas for its artistic rendition. Excellent instrumentalism and an aesthetic that is easy to like enwrap oddly conventional European folk- and classically-influenced melodies in an end product that synthesizes logic and emotion in sonic scultpure. The power behind it is the insightful ways that it forms this into something dark and, underneath aesthetic, progressing beyond the predictable conventions.
Produced by Dan Swäno as the first release for Sacramentum, this EP exudes youthful brilliance and ambition with unconventional and sometimes unsteady but never unstudied songwriting and exploration of emotion and form in art, wielding to great effect signs of forward motion in the otherwise cloned-out genre of Swedish melodic metal (to be fair, Sacramentum and Dissection were ahead of the rest and correspondingly, more coherent and conceptualized in their musical approach). Where there is beauty and the romanticism that embraces death and demons as part of the adventure and epic potential for disaster or triumph at any second of life, there is a heartsurge with the thoughtfulness and emotional lucidity of this band.