I had been very careful when I had read the categorisation "Fantasy Horror Black" in the info. I do not know why, but somehow it had not really read too promising, what the label had given their newbies of AXAMENTA.
But listen there, it comes over quite differently. In the info still compared with bands like CRADLE OF FILTH and DIMMU BORGIR, I rather think that they musically nicely differ from the mentioned acts. No, they to not reinvent the black wheel, but the opener "Liber Angelis" combines melodic Black Metal with a few riffs from traditional Metal, well and powerfully produced, with very well placed keyboards, which do not push to the foreground, but rather act supportive and accentuating, a very good beginning, absolutely.
And also after that AXAMENTA combine Melodic Black with keyboards, much atmosphere and not necessarily purely Black Metal-elements in a way that demands respect from the listener. "Echoes" or also "Deciphering Darkness", an instrumental that almost reminds me of a movie-soundtrack, show the variety of the Belgian quintet, which has far more to offer than the standardised sound of the countless epigones that this genre has to offer.
And on "Through The Scarlet Forever" the folks do not only rely on Black- and Death-vocals, but also unleash a clean voice, which comes very surprising, but in no way deplaced, but adds another dimension to the melodic sound of AXAMENTA, another highlight of the CD and also the closing "Submissive To The All" is more than convincing, not least thanks to the clean vocals.
Surely not a ground-breaking album of Melodic Black Metal, but thanks to the good and variable song-writing and the willingness to break out of the narrow paths of this sub-genre I can attest AXAMENTA a really good and promising debut, which even now makes me look forward to the further evolution of the band!