For a demo from an unsigned band, there’s a bit of promise in the songwriting here. I’ll start off with the bad points though I think, and it’s mainly the production in this case, which is not terrible in a “kult” Black Metal way, more just in a “lack of actually being produced” way. Basically the drums are programmed, and quite obviously so, so the man behind this project (I assume it’s just the one guy) must have had quite a limited range of sounds to choose from. As well as that, as far as I can tell the guitars are programmed too, so he really must have been in dire straights for finding musicians, and there are programmed keys too, which play quite a major role, and for reason I find myself rather fond of. So as far as I can tell the only acoustic instrument is the vocals, which are well done, but terrible quality, and by that I mean they distort quite frequently.
Usually I can put production aside and focus on the music, but this is one case where it’s very noticeable. Anyway, that’s actually the only main problems I can pick with “Black Despondency”. I’m not often much of a fan of Melodic Black Metal, but this gives a bit more than most bands of the genre would. There are some sections with seriously pounding blast beats, and the programmed drums actually help to keep the riffs sounding heavy in such sections. The keyboards help the atmosphere too, there are many parts where keyboards are the only instrument, but unfortunately some of the keyboard effects sound a bit too simple to carry off the mood. I use synthesizers and samplers frequently and professional ambient sounds aren’t too hard to find, I can only assume that the demo was produced on a very tight budget.
But no matter – I can see what is trying to be achieved here and that’s the main thing. The calmer passages are actually the bits which interest me the most, and remind me somewhat of AXAMENTA, in an uplifting, peaceful way. So with better production, musicians to play everything obviously, and perhaps a little more focus on a definite style, ANGUIS AETURNUS could be a much better known name in a few years. Time will tell, and I will keep my eyes peeled in the mean time for any further developments.
(Online January 22, 2007)