MetalBite Review by Jeremy on 8/1/2001
When I first heard of Peccatum
, I was VERY excited. I saw them in an issue of Terrorizer while visiting England. A few months later, I actually found the CD in my home-town HMV. I was overjoyed to the point that I denied how disappointed I was.
doesn't really do it for me.
The most unique thing about Peccatum
is the use of vocals. Ihsahn (of Emperor
), Lord PZ and Ihriel all have good voices for what they do. Ihsahn's growls and screams are top quality, and the others have great classical singing voices. But the "operatic" style makes the overall impression that of a macabre Andrew Lloyd Weber musical. Ihriel's screams and wails remind me, at times, of the sound effects tapes that some houses play on Hallowe'en. Hearing the men singing in harmony, at a very high pitch, reminds me all too much of the 1980s. This wasn't the metal I was expecting.
What would have worked for me would have been a normal female singing voice - no need for the inarticulation of the operatic style. I find that style significantly less emotional than a straight-up singing voice. This is, I think, "Strangling From Within's"
Musically, it's quite proficient, but hampered by what seems to be muddy production. The guitars are well played. Tight, if not memorable riffs. I can't hear any bass, but I'm sure it's there, it has to be, right? The drums are programmed, I believe. They do sound that way, at least. The double-bass sometimes goes faster than you'd expect, and the cymbals do sound a little tinny. The synth-noises are clearly synth, but that's the case with most classical-metal. But enough of me griping - the music is good. I just wish the production would separate it and give it a little more dynamic frequency range.
The songs plod along at a nice tempo, languidly drifting in and out of faster passages. The amount of repetitiveness is just right, and the transitions are well placed. The entire album is very atmospheric, creating a swirling world of flowing voices and instruments. Conceptually, this album is great.
It says in the liner notes "Peccatum
performs art for the sake of art." I respect that 100%. I enjoy what they tried to do, and would likely buy another album if the production and execution could just be cleaned up a bit. The song titles' translations seem to need a little work: 'The Song Which No Name Carry'
- not sure what that means. The standout track for me is track 6, 'I Breathe Without Access to Air.'
It has the most memorable beat and riffs, and is generally the song I can most get into. The closing track, 'An Ovation to Art'
is a nice little instrumental, fitting of a film score.
Now, if you can handle the operatic vocals, most of all, then I'd recommend this album. Otherwise, steer clear of it - Go to the members respective bands to find their work.
out of 10
- reduced primarily because of the vocal work which, while well performed, does not fit the music.