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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Alpthraum - Eyes of A Monument (2011)

Band: Alpthraum
Country: Montreal, Canada
Style: Atmospheric/Symphonic Metal
Label: Independent

I don't remember much about the demo that I reviewed last year from Alpthraum, but it was an album who's cover stuck with me for some reason. I was quite unaware that Alpthraum had, or was even working on, a new album until I was searching through bandcamp. Despite my indifferent feeling towards the demo, I still find his style interesting enough to be worth a second chance.
Intros rarely say anything about a band/artist's sound, so, thus ignoring the intro of this record, I was quite surprised by what I heard. From the little I remembered from the demo, I expect to hear a bit of a black metal vibe on here, instead I got what could only be described as Nightwise or Dimmu Borgir style orchestration mixed with a more progressive metal sound. Imagine what Iron Maiden might have sounded like if they decided to collaborate with Dimmu Borgir, and that should give you a vague idea as to what this sounds like.
Personally, I feel that this album's biggest strength is also it's biggest downfall. The orchestration on here is very well crafted, a track like I Am The Monument demonstrates that perfectly, how every works together in an almost cinematic way, it's very powerful; but it also leads the more metal aspects of some tracks to feel dull and uninteresting. I'll admit, tracks like A Sporadic Memory and Inner Rain are great songs, in full, but very few other songs on here come close to the memorability that those tracks have. I can't say that a track like Nihil Sanctum (The Claws of God) stuck with me after it finished playing, unfortunately, with orchestration alone, as I found that this album just didn't have the memorability that it needed to really stand above being more than just a cool idea.
Overall, this is a pretty solid album, it's not terrible, but it just doesn't feel as great as it could have been. Like I said, the orchestration on here is great, it just makes a lot of the metal sections feel inferior in comparison. Definitely check it out if you're into the whole symphonic metal thing, you probably won't find anything like this from the scene this year.
Overall Score: 7.5
Highlights: Here Comes The Dark..., Inner Rain, Surreal Visions of The Blind

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