Opera IX - _Anphisbena_
by: Pedro Azevedo (
Symphonic blackened metal swathed in occult and pagan influences,
_Anphisbena_ is the fifth and latest effort from Italians Opera IX. A
mid to fast-paced affair, the album relies on synths as much as
guitars to drive its lengthy compositions, with the new vocalist providing mostly a
raspy death metal style rather than a typically blackened shriek. The
music is neither overly aggressive nor markedly melodic, treading a
line that may seem insufficient on both counts for some listeners, and
conversely reach an interesting point of equilibrium for others. A
couple of interludes ensure welcome breaks from the norm, but apart
from that the musical approach remains mostly predictable throughout.
A cover of Bathory's "One Rode to Asa Bay" closes the album in a relatively
uninspiring manner -- at least for those who know the original
classic. Overall, _Anphisbena_ is a competent album, though not one
that causes a huge impression on the listener. It is consistent and
competently produced, but the unremarkable passages it also contains
stop it from reaching a higher level.
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