I hate to sound like some narrow-minded prick but more often than not the term “melodic Black Metal” is nothing more than a euphemism for limp-wristed-ness. There are exceptions but for the most part I want my Black Metal to be a raging inferno, not some tedious slog through ‘dark romanticism’ and supposedly spooky atmospherics. Based on what I read about them I had these Italians pegged as just such a band. Luckily they’re not but neither are they of the former variety, the band settling instead for something that lies in the middle of these two ends of the spectrum without ever really grasping or utilizing the better elements of either style.
Musically “Bleak Mental Torture” (which is a 2007 demo but the band lists it as a 2008 promo...) is somewhat reminiscent of that most vague of descriptions: Dark Metal, meaning of course that there is a bit of everything in here – Black Metal melodies, Death Metal grooves, sporadic acoustic flourishes, “spooky” keyboard lines, you name it. Its quite hodgepodge in both sound and execution and save for the crunchy Death Metal undercurrent of “Lamentation Of Shadows” that sounds a bit like a cross between ACHERON and INCANTATION (albeit with horribly screechy Dani Filth-like vocals on top) this brisk demo didn’t really stir any excitement in me. They try to mix things up a bit by contrasting the music with the vocals – it’s either Death Metal riffs with blackened screeching or Black Metal riffs with Death Metal grunts – but at no point did they manage to marry the two in any effective way. I either found myself listening to just the vocals or just the underlying music, the two never combined in unison.
It’s good that they tried to think and play a bit outside of the box, so to speak, but on the strength (or basically the lack thereof) of these few songs they simply didn’t possess the songwriting chops to adequately pulls it off. With this in mind the band moniker actually makes a lot of sense...
(Online October 27, 2008)