Serbian Black Metal... Serbian Orthodox Black Metal... Hmmm. Tingling, my ears they are, as Master Yoda would say. The Balkans have a proud Black Metal tradition, so TRIUMFALL’s debut, “Antithesis Of All Flesh”, is sure to be a winner, if my gut feeling and the positive word of mouth is anything to go by.
So here I’m sitting expecting this to sound like something cut from the same diabolical cloth as “Salvation” era FUNERAL MIST or perhaps even ANTAEUS, but once the superfluous intro faded out I was hit square in the face by something quite unexpected (and initially rather disappointing), that being melodic keyboard-drenched Black Metal not at all dissimilar to “Enthrone Darkness Triumphant” era DIMMU BORGIR. Quite a curveball, dude. My initial listen wasn’t a pleasant experience seeing as how I’m not really into this more ‘considerate’ style of Black Metal, but things already sounded a lot better on just the second spin, as some of the finer nuances started shining through. The keyboard-heavy DIMMU melodies and ANOREXIA NERVOSA-styled “gothic aggression” may get a tad grating after a few songs but the little adventurous touches like the out-of-the-blue divebomb solo in “Allegiance To Thy Fall” and the out of tune piano tinkling near the end of “Within Their Midnight” adds a sense of twisted depth to the album.
There aren’t enough of these elements to elevate the album to classic status any day soon – the sound is just a little too 1997 to qualify as cutting edge, and with the new MARDUK and ARCKANUM albums still kicking my ass on a regular basis this one feels like a bit of an afterthought – but on the whole the album is quite consistent and subtly aggressive enough to warrant successive listens.
(Online November 26, 2009)