It’s a bad sign when you can hum the first few minutes of a song and still have no opinion on it. Rarely have e’er I heard an album that’s just so unremarkable. It’s so unremarkable, in fact, that putting together a cogent sentence about it is a surprisingly difficult task.
RAMHORN recorded “Crystal Vanity” in several sessions throughout 2003, mastered it in November 2005 and released it December 2005. The album is available from their website for fairly cheap and they seem to seek only to make enough money to not starve. Or maybe it’s a him rather than a they, since there’re only pictures of one fellow on the website. Anyhow, for that attitude I commend them.
I wish I could commend the output. “Crystal Vanity” is a dark, unhappy, generally slow-moving work. The songs suffer from an unfortunate condition wherein the song playing sounds a lot like the song on that just got done playing. The pace is also a detriment; while slow isn’t necessarily bad, it often means here repetition of what might have been an interesting idea until I put in a different CD. Half-way through “The Cell Of Existence” I wanted to gnaw off my ears to escape. Fortunately, the rest of the CD really isn’t that bad.
Besides the Doom, there are some elements of Heavy Metal played in a Doom fashion and the occasional Gothic embellishment to keep things interesting. I can’t think of a direct comparison, but I can say that a lot of riffs or transitions sounded suspiciously familiar, though in that frustrating manner where one can’t put one’s finger on the niggling doubt.
Is “Crystal Vanity” good? Is it bad? All I know is that my gut says, “maybe.” (Online April 11, 2006)