Requiem Aeternam - _Philosopher_
(ICorp, 2004)
by: Brian Meloon (7.5 out of 10)
Requiem Aeternum hail originally from Uruguay, but main man José Romero now lives and works in New York City. This is their second full-length album, following on the heels of 1998's _Eternally Dying_. Each of the eight songs here is based upon the writings of a philosopher, such as Nietzsche, Kierkegaard and Heraclitus, with one being based upon Romero's own writings. Yet unlike the latest grandiloquent garbage from Winds, the material here is down-to-earth and listenable. The music is generally black metal-based, but features numerous death/thrash sections. Each of the songs also contains one or more clean and/or melodic sections. In general, the songs are diverse in terms of tempos and styles, so the music is neither repetitive nor dominated by any one sound. The band make a big deal in their promotional material of having Alex Hernandez (Immolation) on drums, but the other members of the band are no slouches either. In fact, the playing on all fronts is quite good.

There really is only one major problem with this release, and it's the vocals. The album has a mix of black metal screams -- nicely done, with a hint of scream in the harsh rasp -- and clean vocals. Unfortunately, the clean vocals are very nasally and whiny, and have the added disadvantage of an obvious accent. Still, they do have a quirky charm to them, and some of my favorite moments on this disc are where the clean vocals are the most prominent. However, it's something I think the band should work on for their future releases. A lesser concern with the album is that although the production is quite clear, it isn't really very powerful.

With more powerful production and some better vocals, this could be on the level of Brazil's Avec Tristesse [CoC #78]. However, it's still an enjoyable and worthy release the way it is. Although it took me a few listens to get used to the sound, after I did, it earned a regular spot in my CD changer. I'd expect that fans of high-brow extreme metal should enjoy this, and it's worth searching out.


(article published 20/1/2005)

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