Negative Plane - _Et In Saecula Saeculorum_
(The AJNA Offensive, 2006)
by: James Montague (8.5 out of 10)
Sophistication meets primitivity, modern technique meets analog warmth, past meets present, black metal meets death metal meets thrash metal. With their first LP release, Florida's Negative Plane throw caution to the wind by writing long, convoluted songs and using extensive reverb and fuzzy analog sound to obfuscate the scene, while at the same time making an unmistakable nod to '80s classics like Possessed and Mercyful Fate that will ensure their standing alongside the veterans of the metal world.

It takes an attentive listener to fully dissect the complex structure of _Et In Saecula Saeculorum_, with songs clocking in around the nine minute mark with minimal repetition, frequent riff changes and meandering leads, and no verse-chorus patterns to pad out their length. The intentionally murky, echoing production evokes vivid images of decaying church crypts, dimly candlelit and scattered with bones. Hammond organs and bells chime in from time to time to enhance this occult atmosphere. However, for all its wanton obscurity, the band still offers instant gratification in its solid riffing, clean bass lines and excellent drumming. The old-school riffs often sound eerily familiar yet far from derivative in their uniquely crafted application. The vocals are very similar to those of ex-Desaster vocalist Okkulto, a spitting snarl reverbed and pitch-shifted in a way that disembodies the voice from its owner and pervades the music from all corners.

It's difficult to predict whether Negative Plane will ever become a big name in the metal scene, as their obscure sound is likely to appeal more to those who used to trade thrash demo cassettes two decades ago. One thing is sure: they are supremely talented musicians that will please their target audience greatly. Of all the CDs I've received from bands bearing names completely unknown to me, _Et In Saecula Saeculorum_ is easily the finest. Highly recommended.


(article published 11/2/2007)

4/19/2011 D Lake 8 Negative Plane - Stained Glass Revelations
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