Kadenzza - _Into the Oriental Phantasma_
(Holy Records, 2003)
by: Brian Meloon (8 out of 10)
Kadenzza is the brainchild of Japan's You Oshima, and is one of the better one-man projects I've heard. The music is an interesting blend of black metal and progrock/metal, with some classical and guitar spankoff influences. It is in some ways comparable to Nokturnal Mortum's excellent _Goat Horns_ [CoC #31], especially in the general tone and level of heaviness, but also in the heavy use of keyboards. However, Kadenzza's keyboards aren't typically layered as heavily, and they are more experimental with song structures. Moreover, there is a definite guitar spankoff influence (a la Yngwie et al.) that Nokturnal Mortum never displayed.

The songs are varying lengths and varying styles, with the longer songs more classically influenced, slower, and more experimental, and the shorter ones heavier and more straightforward -- but both types of songs work well and provide a nice contrast so that the album doesn't get repetitive. The vocals are a typical black metal raspy style, with some slight distortion. The guitars are slightly over-distorted, and have a somewhat hollow sound. The keyboards are varied, and although they do have a tendency to sound cheesy, they're generally done pretty well. The drums are programmed, but they generally sound quite realistic; you won't find inhumanly-fast blast beats or repetitive patterns here.

If I have a complaint with this album, it's that the music is a little loosely played in some parts, whereas I think a tighter delivery would be more effective. Granted, the looseness in the playing is consistent with the black metal sound, but it clashes with the guitar hero stylings. Overall, even though this album doesn't completely satisfy, I hope this project continues, since it's a unique perspective on progressive black metal.

Contact: http://www.kadenzza.com

(article published 1/20/2005)


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