Penumbra - _Seclusion_
(Season of Mist, 2003)
by: Aaron McKay (
From A to Z, this French outfit leaves no stone unturned in their search to capture the elusive goth metal style. Stemming from a history stretching back to 1996, then calling themselves Imperatoria, Penumbra has created an avantgarde blend of metal and musical landscapes, pushing the reaches of metal in mostly new ways. Lyrically, this band of seven inconsolable soul-seekers creates vivid scenes of developed despondency struggling to survive the complexity of the sacrifice they seem to be developing with the new effort _Seclusion_. With this, their third full release, Penumbra has seamlessly refined a sound rich with a mixture of elements not always evident in the scene today. The scene itself is nearly unclassifiable when it comes to the material this outfit generates. Lush female vocals play a pivotal role in Penumbra's goth technique toward developing the concept of the album -- that being a discordant love between an angel and a mortal. Enhancing that point further, the deep male vocals, clean and growlingly edgy both, have a complementary impression on _Seclusion_'s haunting style. Eight tracks of not less than nearly four and a half minutes give this recorded experience all the time it needs to mature its deluxe grandeur. The passive and aggressive approach found within _Seclusion_ ebb and flow like so many emotions contained in a schizophrenic mind. For all the complexity of Penumbra's newest offering, the poignant fact remains that their opulence of theatrics and choir can only be absorbed in small doses; think of it as eating raw, white fudge -- no matter the rich texture, the law of diminishing returns always kicks in.
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