Neglected Fields - _Mephisto Lettonica_
(Scarlet, 2000)
by: Brian Meloon (8 out of 10)
This is Neglected Fields' second album, following their 1998 debut _Synthinity_. While that album showed some serious Sentenced (_North From Here_ era) worship, this album is a more distinctive effort. They've moved toward the orchestral black metal sound of bands like Limbonic Art and Nokturnal Mortum by adding more prominent keyboards. The music is still heavily guitar dominated, and the riffs and vocals are still heavily Sentenced-influenced, but the keyboards temper the guitars and give the music a unique feel. The playing is generally quite good, though there are a few moments where things could be improved. The production is excellent: clear and powerful. The songs are generally interesting and inspired, and their core sound is dense and thick. The keyboards really add depth to their sound, not dominating the music, but expanding and filling it out. In addition, the album offers a moderate diversity of styles. The band occasionally strays away from their core sound to explore new territory, and most of these departures are successful, such as the vaguely Satriani-like instrumental "Presentiment". But this is a consistently heavy album, and the departures aren't radical enough to break its mood. Overall, this is a step in the right direction for the band, and I look forward to their next effort.

(article published 10/1/2001)

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