Mundanus Imperium - _The Spectral Spheres Coronation_
(Nuclear Blast, 1998)
by: Paul Schwarz (6.5 out of 10)
Hey, it isn't as bad as I had feared. Mundanus Imperium are another of Nuclear Blast's recent signees who embody the spirit of metal from the '80s, as opposed to the label's original, '90s centered roster. I think it is fair to say that Hammerfall's unprecedented success is very likely to be the reason why Mundanus Imperium got a deal with Nuclear Blast, but this is not to say they are necessarily unworthy of a record deal -- though whether they suit -my- vision for Nuclear Blast is another matter. Mundanus Imperium can be quite well described by the label "symphonic metal". Overall, the guitars tend to mutter in the background with only occasional full power-chords, the majority of the guitar work being palm muted. Keyboards (or guitar synths) are Mundanus Imperium's preferred form of expression. As simple power-chord riffs tick over in the background, complex and flowing piano sections, organ atmospherics and various other wind and string instruments comprise the lines of melody which carry the songs. The drums vary between AC/DC simplicity and double bass passages with some interesting fills. Though what I have just gone over does not comprise anything I wet myself over, it makes for a pretty decent mix. The bad aspect of this release, at least for me, is the vocals. Though the vocalist is not "bad" -- he's not out of tune or lacking power --, his style is infuriating, to say the least. It reminds me somewhat of the sound of the new Iced Earth album, but with more "yeahaeaaaahahh"s and note shifting than I can take in a single sitting. As I say, it is better than it looks, but the space theme on which it works seems pretty lame: for futuristic rock you still can't do much better than Rush's _2112_. I think as futuristic metal goes, Nuclear Blast would've been better off signing Nocturnus when they were still around; but gripes aside, this is a decent record.

(article published 19/11/1998)

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