One of the greatest things of writing for "The Metal Observer" is unearthing hidden gemstones that would otherwise stay way hidden and underappreciated. I have no idea anymore how I came across Australian ARBRYNTH, but whatever touch of fate made me discover them was SO worth it. One thing right off the bed - releasing an independent album on December 27 is not the best move in terms of marketing your band, because with everything happening around that time of the year, you are bound to lose, but hey, I still found out about them and now am spreading the word!
ARBRYNTH's style is not easy to pinpoint, since they refuse to follow the general genre conventions by merging Death Metal with some Folk influences, some Post Metal meanderings and an interesting atmosphere to hold it all together, which does not make it easy for me to actually write this review without resorting to going track-by-track, which I personally severely dislike... Anyways, let's give this a shot. ARBRYNTH were founded in 2006 in Melbourne and don't seem to have had any releases prior to this, their self-titled album, so baptism by fire it is.
"Amidst The Ruin" is a great way to kick off the album, effortlessly weaving between highly melodic mid-tempo Death Metal (no, no Gothenburg-stylings to be found) with growls and very calm sections with clear vocals and acoustic and clean guitars, showing excellent penmanship to avoid the contrasting passages sounding disjointed. But wait, this is getting better, because "Blood Red Skies" kicks this up a notch! Overall slower, we get an interplay of clear vocals and deeper growls with a very special atmosphere and nice lead guitars on the one hand and the total opposite of only female vocals and flute, once more with great flow. Now when I mention female vocals, they are not your typical soprano, but Tina uses them in many different ways, be it ethereal (as contrast to the deep growls on "The Raven") to "normal", which adds to the male growl/clear display we already have. Towards the end this special, almost dreamy atmosphere comes more to the fore, be it in the slow and laid back, emotional "Words Of The Wind" or closing "Drinker Of Worlds", or great "Black Veil", which once more brings together slow tempo and two different kinds of growls as well as an acoustic passage, where the clear vocals admittedly sound a little, hm, odd.
The production is very good, letting the different emotions and interchanges shine with nice clarity, rounding off this very surprising and also very mature debut album of a band that defies a standard categorization and does so with style and quality. ARBRYNTH are a band that we should keep a close eye on, because even at the relative early stage of their musical career they have managed to stand out from the countless other bands vying for attention and I wouldn't be surprised, if this could become Australia's next big thing!
(Online May 1, 2012)