I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Every time I receive a batch of promos in the mail, I hope that I get something like this. With every disc I gaze upon for the first time, I pine for the discovery of something delightfully Avantgarde, only to be inevitably disappointed. In my many months of reviewing for TMO, I can count on one hand the number of releases I have received that truly fall under the heading of "Avantgarde Metal." Thankfully, the Dark Lords of the Abyss have heard my cries and blessed me with this, ENSOPH's "Project X-Katon."
What's the recipe here? Well, start out with a solid base of Gothic Metal and add one cup each of Industrial and Electronica as well as just a pinch of Black Metal. For flavour, add in several vocal styles, ranging from SOLEFALD-esque old man voices to shrieks, both male and female, as well as some cleanly sung, operatic female vocals. Sprinkle with synths, keyboards and pianos, shake well and stir. Voila! You've got yourself an ENSOPH. And now, I'll drop the annoyingly clichéd cooking metaphor.
A track like "Condemned" really sums up what this band is all about, conjuring up all sorts of macabre imagery. If really cool and macabre is a bit too sissy for you, try "Un Petalo Di Pietá," a disturbed little Industrial ditty that makes most of the rest of the album sound like bubblegum. Of course, that's like saying that "Constantine" made the rest of Keanu Reeves' movies look good - it's more of a commentary on the song than it is on the rest of the album.
Now, at twelve tracks (excluding the throw-away radio edits), "Project X-Katon" can start to drag toward the end, but while it has steam, that steam is scaldingly hot. Check this out if you're a fan of older SOLEFALD, Gothic Metal, or dark, creative music in general. (Online March 26, 2006)