Bilocate - _Sudden Death Syndrome_
(Independent, 2008)
by: Quentin Kalis (8 out of 10)
Bilocate hail from the tiny Middle Eastern state of Jordan and this is their sophomore release. They describe their music as "Oriental Dark Metal", and whilst technically correct, "Oriental" is usually associated with the Far, not Middle, East. In any case, while traditional Arabian influences are present, in the form of Eastern scales and the use of an oud, the end result sounds very European, with its heavy focus on the dark and dramatic.

Not overdone "woe is thine life; I contemplate the beauty of thy dead black rose" melodramatic rubbish. The album begins and ends with an ambient number, which is weak as an intro but is rearranged into a far longer and much improved outro, which is stunning, reaching a level that few metal bands do when diverted into ambient territory. The arrangements and songwriting are strong, as exemplified by "Bloodied Forest" -- it is no easy task to write a seventeen minute song that holds the listener's attention for its entire duration. They never let up on the slow tempo and gloomy atmosphere, while the vocals consist of a mid-range growl. They have made pit stops at the altars of My Dying Bride, Anathema, Opeth and Katatonia (the influence of the latter two should come as no surprise, especially as the production is provided by Jens Bogren, who has worked with the aforementioned) but they definitely found their own miserable niche in dark / death / doom / call it what you will metal.

This album is a significant achievement for Bilocate, but its import will resonate further than just another addition to the doom stable, as this will be the album that fellow Jordanians will now seek to emulate, equal or surpass.


(article published 3/12/2008)

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