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Reverence - Inactive Theocracy (6/10) - France - 2009

Genre: Black Metal / Avantgarde
Label: Osmose Productions
Playing time: 55:10
Band homepage: Reverence

Tracklist:

  1. Origin
  2. Faith Design
  3. Braith
  4. When The Light Blossoms
  5. Hypothetical Paths Of Silence
  6. The Axis Of Horror
  7. The Last Chapter
  8. Hybrid Requiem Phenomenon
  9. Regression Of Cold Levels
Reverence - Inactive Theocracy

Two years after their dark juggernaut "Chamber Of Divine Elaboration", this French trio have returned with a bombastic follow-up. Things have certainly changed since last time they came crawling out of their abandoned ruins, and this beast has taken on a new, bigger shape.

As with their last effort, "Inactive Theocracy" still plays like a not so distant cousin to BLUT AUS NORD, but in a commendable effort to expand, REVERENCE are now dressed in a new mantle. The raspy vocals are condemned to the background, and instead operatic vocals ala ARCTURUS have taken the spotlight. The Silent Hill-atmosphere still provides a grimy backbone, but the eerie sounds are undermined by the overly theatrical singing. Such a combination of creepy effects and grandiose chanting creates a sharp divide, and rather than embracing the schizophrenic potential, REVERENCE fall between two chairs. The result is not particularly horrifying, and too often it sounds like a tame attempt at Symphonic Black Metal.

Despite these significant weaknesses, "Inactive Theocracy" is by no means a scrapheap of mangled ideas. There are moments where everything comes together perfectly, mirroring other experimental bands like EMPEROR's latter years. The riffs, and drum-patterns are unconventional, and captivating in small doses, but almost an hour of the same formula becomes trite and slightly irritating. A special mention must be given to the synths, which fail spectacularly at re-creating the mystique of BLUT AUS NORD, instead coming off as a second-grade cheesecake vampire-organ. Far too often the music fails to suck you in, and I find it extremely difficult to keep an interest after several sequential spins.

It's no mystery that REVERENCE are a band with the capacity for great musical accomplishments, and this albums proves that they're not afraid to take it up a notch. Unfortunately "Inactive Theocracy" suffers from being too one-dimensional, a fatal flaw for any "experimental" band. I'm sure some people will find a lot to enjoy in this twisted piece of metal, but for this particular reviewer it falls short of any considerable interest.

(Online May 24, 2010)

Ailo Ravna



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