Saturday, 8 October 2011

Severed Heaven - Incessant Darkness

Self Released 2010

1.The Fading Light 2.Soul Desecration II 3.Alone I Perish 4.Autumn
5.Desolation 6.The Edge Of Despair 7.Seal The Cavity 8.Fallen Flesh
9.Traumatic Period 10.Earth Decayed

The world of extreme metal has now become used to female ‘fronted’ bands, but an all-female extreme metal band is somewhat of a rarity, only a handful springing to mind. ‘The Fading Light’ opens this cd up, a guitar lead instrumental that acts as ‘an intro’ with ‘Soul Desecration II’ being the first full track. It’s a good opener, mixing early ‘At The Gates’ inspired riffs with doomier passages which all works well when the two styles are mixed. The guitars are heavy as hell in the slower sections, a real ‘buzz’ to their sound. Unfortunately the song begins to lack pace and energy and starts to ‘drag’ along; the melody on show is its saving grace however, with some really catchy guitar work. The end to the track is very doom inspired, having an overwhelming ‘English doom’ feel to it. ‘Alone I Perish’ see’s the band upping the pace and injecting some much needed energy, again the melodic Swedish sounding riffs at the forefront of the song which gives the track an almost epic feel. Continuing the theme seen in the opening track, the slower passages add a different dimension to the sound, remaining largely melodic, yet mournful and sombre. ‘Autumn’ sounds somewhat disjointed; the cohesion of riffs seen on the previous tracks not present here and the song seems to lose its sense of purpose.
 Thankfully ‘Desolation’ rescues things, the band again injecting more pace over the melodic and catchy riffing. Predictably the band then lose the speed and return to the familiar slower pace, a well-used formula which is beginning to sound over-used and the safe option. ‘The Edge Of Despair’ opens as many of the tracks have done, fast start then slow things down. It’s a real shame that SH chose to use the same song structures for many of their tracks because when the band do up the pace and unleash the frantic and melodic guitars, it works really well, very Swedish Black / Death metal in its nature. Laurens ‘screamed’ vocals sounding particularly manic and deranged over these faster sections with the mix of low and high vocals just right. ‘Seal The Cavity’ is amazingly catchy, once again the ‘At The Gates’ (The Red in The Sky Is Ours era) influence on show, the slower passages working very well and really showing off the bands melodic edge perfectly. ‘Fallen Flesh’ uses the now familiar ‘slow fast slow’ structure, although some variation is added by using a melodic acoustic guitar intro which fits in nicely. There’s a real sense of sorrow and solitude when the band slow things down here, very mournful and tragic and reminiscent of a lot of the doom that was coming out of Yorkshire in the early to mid-nineties, very fitting as the band hail from Leeds. All that doom and bad weather is showing its inspiration here!
‘Traumatic Period’ is probably the slowest and most filth ridden track on the disc, crawling along disgustingly, doom at its core but never really showing the band at their best. ‘Earth Decayed’ ends this cd, staring off promisingly enough with more of the catchy and melodic Swedish sounding riffs but then sadly falling into the mediocre normality and predictibility seen so much in many of the other tracks. Hoping that the band would end this cd in a furious orgy of frenzied and melodic riffing was asking too much, the band preferring to slow proceedings down once again and let the song die a death, petering out into nothing really – shame. There are some real signs of promise here, especially when the band up the pace, but more than often the predictable song structures become, well, all too predictable and lack variation. Not that this is a bad cd by any means, it just needs SH to up their game as there is a lot better than this out there that will hold your attention more that this does.
6 out of 10

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