Opera IX - _Anphisbena_
(Avantgarde, 2004)
by: Pedro Azevedo (7 out of 10)
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.

Contact: http://www.avantgardemusic.com

(article published 31/1/2005)

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