Painted Black - _Cold Comfort_
(Ethereal Sound Works, 2010)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8 out of 10)
With the satisfyingly engaging and hard-hitting "Via Dolorosa", Painted Black open their debut full-length _Cold Comfort_ in a rather promising manner. The song mixes a strong rhythmic approach with well integrated quieter passages, vocals alternating between harsh and spoken, before some solid guitar lead work and brief but effective female vocals take the composition into an atmospheric interlude. A good guitar solo and another harsher passage then wrap up the song.

The remainder of the album is not a mere repetition of the elements shown on the opening track, however. Things soon take a markedly more melodic and melancholic turn, complete with clean singing, although Painted Black remain happy to crank up the aggression frequently enough. At times the music moves a little further into melodic doom, with more of a dark romantic slant, but always keeps a penchant for memorable guitar sequences and interesting songwriting. "Absent Heart" is where Painted Black go farthest into non-metallic mode, but the quieter sections become one of the album's rare missteps.

I am loath to write this about any Portuguese band, but I do feel Painted Black may well appeal to those who enjoy Moonspell's heavier moments -- though not because Painted Black borrow from their style or even sound like them. Their songwriting is considerably different, and _Cold Comfort_ may just as well appeal to anyone into melodic doom or My Dying Bride. It really is hard to pigeonhole them and reduce their target audience to a specific subset, because Painted Black do not adhere too stringently to a standard set of genre rules, instead mixing whatever they find appropriate at each point in a song.

For a debut album, _Cold Comfort_ provides proof that Painted Black possess solid songwriting skills, and that they are able to deliver a nice metallic crunch just as effectively as they can glide through more melodic or atmospheric elements. The album is well written, performed and produced, and rarely betrays a lack of experience, all of which indicates significant potential for future growth.


(article published 10/10/2010)

2/24/2007 K Sarampalis 4 Painted Black - Verbo
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