"Perihelion", Czech ENDLESS' first album, had not exactly blown me off my chair three years ago, so my feeling when I put the follow up "Vital #1" into my player was not exactly one of exaggerated enthusiasm. But that changed as the album flowed by my ears.
Once you get used to the mix of Doom, some Gothic and even Rock and especially the mostly quite harsh voice of fronter Libor Bartusek, which does not appeal to me as it takes away much of the atmosphere that the Czechs manage to create with their compositions by cleverly shifting intensity, speed and heaviness.
The info hails them as a member of the Czech "post-Doom" scene, whatever that may be, but that they like slower tempos cannot be denied as well. At times I even feel a bit reminded of the "Wildhoney" album of TIAMAT and its special mood. "Our Friends" is a very good example for that. Other than that I should mention opener "Xea-Tuath-Eo" and "Sundown", which in its vocal melody somehow reminds me of SKYCLAD… Also "History" with SILENT STREAMS OF GODLESS ELEGY's Zuzka as guest vocalist comes over quite well overall, apart from some dissonant parts towards the end. Very good and interesting also the closing "In Your Palms".
My problem is that Libor's voice is too harsh compared to the very melodic and atmospheric music, as well as some of those dissonances. Apart from that "Vital #1" is a good alternative for people, who like variable Doom Metal with a good sound and absolutely own ideas (like the use of flute and the courage for interesting, unusual dynamics), which you have to credit them for! (Online January 20, 2002)