From: Global Domination Webzine
Published: March 23, 2014
It’s difficult to be creative when black metal is the court where you play and many have failed in their attempting to achieve any kind of relevance. However, when listening to the early tracks in “(Un)reality”, I totally reckoned Epitimia’s fourth album was somewhat special.
It’s true that a double album of ambient black metal seems little fun on paper, but calling “(Un)reality” just that hardly makes justice to what these Russians have launched here. In fact, there’s evidence of jazz, opera, trip-hop, electro and so called post-rock here, let alone ambient music and black metal. Besides, this is hardly a double feature of the same music going to the infinite for about two hours. In fact, I’d rather say the second disc is fairly different from the first one, as though the whole mood of the opus changed.
With that regard, I think “Delusion”—that’s how the first disc should be titled—is the more black-oriented one. Not only is the music here closer to the unholiest subgenre in metal, but it also delivers some really clear and melodic tremolo riffs and melodies recreating that cold atmosphere black metal is all about. Some of them even resemble some medieval stuff, but happily we’re not facing any cheesy folky release here, it’s all about the scales and imprinting such vibe rather than giving it away. With songs averaging 6-7 minutes, these guys allowed themselves to incorporate some interesting jazzy passages and operatic singing to their songwriting; such traits definitely add for the ambient effect. Me, I had a lot of fun discovering all the details in the songs and rewinding to the momentums for better understanding. Also, I particularly enjoyed the saxophone solo in “Contemplation”.
On the other hand, the second disc wasn’t that appealing to me. While I do have some favorite albums in the category of electro-driven black metal, I normally prefer my ambient dark, rather than the shiny futuristic approach that “Illusion” has. Besides, I’m not a big fan of the whole post-whatever wave, if you know what I mean. The songs, however, are just as well written as those in the first disc, they’re a bit too… Cheerful. “Far away” is probably the one that I enjoyed the most for its combination of female vocals and heavy riffs and—guess—a few sax notes here and there, altogether delivering a most ethereal atmosphere. Am I getting some Qntal vibe here? At times this reminded me of latest Alcest or so. I mean, there IS an audience for this stuff.
All in all, I regard “(Un)reality” a worthy album that probably could use some trimming, you see. Maybe, just maybe, not all songs here were indispensable. One thing is sure: these people have quite a few aces up their sleeves, and I’m definitely checking out their early works one of these days.
Reviewed by: Cobal
Posted by Nick Skog. Posted In : Album Reviews