Hollenthon - Opus Magnum
Bruce Turnbull 18/05/2008
It's been seven years since the release of Hollenthon's second album “With Vilest of Worms to Dwell”, and I think somehow the metal community has survived. Another Symphonic/Melodic Black Metal outfit from Austria I hear you say? You got it. Right down to the mutinous use of keys and paroxysms of style and class. There's nothing particularly egregious about “Opus Magnum”, but nothing noteworthy either. We have our harsh, raspy vocals, our overused synths and cod-orchestrations, our frenetic percussion, our harmonized guitars: the works. But there is no invigoration, nor any real sense of atmosphere or landscape. All the performances are top notch however, and the production is as clear as bell, making “Opus Magnum” extremely listenable. There is certainly a thrashy feel to the guitar work, and not nearly enough Black Metal influence to condemn this to the latter, but the pseudo-Gothic overtones and dark lyrical subtext offer a hint of ethic sophistication, as opposed to the habitual unbridled brutality. “Opus Magnum”, with its use of clean female vocals and Middle-Eastern modal devices, can be quite an epic experience and one likely to appeal to fans of the genre, but not much else.