Sear Bliss - _Grand Destiny_
(Nephilim, 2001)
by: Brian Meloon (6 out of 10)
Hungarians Sear Bliss have returned with their third full-length effort. Whereas I greatly enjoyed their 1995 demo _The Pagan Winter_, their offerings since then haven't done much for me. Clearly the most distinctive element of their sound is their use of trumpets over aggressive and atmospheric death/black metal. Unfortunately, while these elements were well-integrated on their demo, the horns are now relegated to a much smaller portion of the album. Generally, they only appear in the atmospheric/melodic keyboard sections, which -- despite being very well done in their own right -- seem tacked on and superfluous. Part of the reason for this is that the death/black sections have gotten more aggressive and less atmospheric. While this is a reasonable change for a band to make, it works against Sear Bliss, as without atmospheric keys and horns, there's really nothing to separate them from the hordes of similar competent bands doing the same style. This is a decent album, but I'm afraid these guys have lost touch with the things that made their demo so good. Perhaps with some refocus, they can find the magic again.

(article published 1/14/2002)


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