Onheil - _Razor_
(Cyclone Empire, 2009)
by: Colleen Burton (4.5 out of 10)
A "black metal Iron Maiden!" proclaims the promo sheet for a Dutch melodic black ensemble which, after a slew of demos, has finally rallied behind a full-length. Three guitars tyrannize _Razor_ and some sense can be made of the aforementioned phrase in observing their belligerence welded to a lead guitar focus; however, the blacker approach prevents soloing and interplay of the sort that would really rouse Maiden fans. There is nothing so different between Onheil and others that blacken their metal while leaving it accessible for a larger body of metalheads.

"Nemesis Light Fading" introduces us to stock death-styled vocals and the fast-paced clamor of guitars interrupting themselves with the canorous interludes connotative of heavy metal, all supported by Terger's drumming which is nearly technical without being ostentatious. The vim of the lead guitar breaks through during "As Hope Dies" but its supporting instruments carry on with the lightning-fast melo-black formula which can't help but detract from it as they gallop along and as Amok or Haat's voice sinks in the mix. Then again, Onheil can be clever in their compositions, as with "From Above", in which Amok, Sadist or Haat will break off to lead his own strain and the singer's voice bursts through as the rest of the playing has slowed to a halt. Things strongly coalesce on "Final Redemption" which is a bit more successful in its fervor and allows "Day of Departure" to shocks the listener with a southern metal riff and incohesive lyrics. The title track takes a Naglfar approach to melodic black metal that offers Onheil a unifying perspicuity. "Razor" leads winsomely into "The Fallen Kingdom" and from here, the latter portions of the album definitely trump the first for tone and timbre.

Onheil are extremely difficult to compare with more familiar blackened death acts because _Razor_ is so over-the-top melodic, even when sized up against acts like Sacramentum who utilize comparable techniques. Purists, as such, will find this release hard to welcome in consideration of the pressure Onheil places on us to accept their chimerical blending of offerings from the metal world and ultimately selling something under the black metal banner that might be just a tad too cleanly produced, a bit too catchy. Admittedly, they can't really be accused of ripping anybody off, and this Behemoth sort of genre mash-up has grown in popularity, but this all begs the question: what do they hope to do next with this motley medley?

Contact: http://www.onheil.com/

(article published 24/12/2009)


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