Posted by Nick Skog on Saturday, March 8, 2014 Under: Album Reviews
From: Volumes of Sin Webzine
Published: March 5, 2014
In My Shiver are an Italian three piece experimental black metal/shoegaze trio who formed in 2010. They released a combined effort the same year entitled Black Seasons, wherein ideas from each member were brought to life, via the label Solitude and Despair Music. Now four years later, and recently picked up by Hypnotic Dirge Records, In My Shiver are back with their follow up release Delicate Poison. What bleak hymns await listeners beyond the lifeless faces of the cover art?
Delicate Poison has a hybrid charm to it that many other bands have failed to capture. In one aspect, the music can be subtle, tame and spacious, almost calming like soft waves on a moonlit night; in another prospect it can be chaotic and claustrophobic, tight and thick with heavy fog and noise clutter. These two polar opposites meld wonderfully, almost like yin and yang, due to the compositions that the artists have laboriously created. With that said, the listener will surely hear remnants of influence from bands such as Katatonia and Woods of Ypres quite easily, along with more gothic styled bands such as The Cure and Fields of the Nephilim.
Undoubtedly, there is a lot going on in terms of instrumental prowess laden within each six-plus minute track found on the album; almost no stone is left unturned. The bass is loud and it's deep presence is felt within each song as it brings to life dark, goth influenced lines that rumble through the midsection of the content like thunder. The existence of the bass nearly carries some segments of the intricate composures here and there despite the lack of any explicit solos, showing just how dominate this element can be. Vocalist/guitarist Mkh979 takes on the role of two vocal styles, your typical shrill black metal highs but also well sung clean tenors; this, coupled with the warmth of the lead guitar, is where the heaviest Woods of Ypres feeling comes into play. Where the two vocal styles meet are often found when the tenors overlay the shrills in production, however the two are equally capable of standing on their own throughout the material and each adds a certain emphasis to the surrounding melodies.
When the listener is introduced to Delicate Poison for the first time they will be hard-pressed to determine that the drums are accomplished entirely with skillful programming; in other words, there's no live drummer here. Unlike the machines used in countless other albums, the drumming here actually sounds warm and human; this is a gratifying adventure away from the cold, mechanical feel that many drum machines convey. The drums themselves are very high up in the mix, often outweighing the other instruments with it's percussion and snare which thumps heavily in the ear of the listener at times; however rare, this feature can still become distracting over elongated periods. There are endless amounts of rhythms, double bass kicks, blast beats, alternating bass kicks and well placed techniques used with the drums, as well as a satisfying range of tempos and exotic elements that aren't heard in a typical kit, such as in "False".
While the content has an extremely strong start with "Closed View" and "False", somewhere between "Liquid Hour" and "Into the Grey Line" the album begins to wear a bit thin. This changes once "Drain" bursts onto the speakers and the material begins to gain momentum again, however when one takes a look into why the lapse happens it's a small but obvious flaw. The two guitars have well-differentiated distortion between them, the lead takes on it's standard crystallized treble tone while the rhythm dons a crunchy lower distortion; the two are separated well, but given the musical structures and the length of each track, without any type of distortion switch up the guitars can become tedious over time. The distortions are adjusted slightly, but effectively, come "Drain" and the content at this time feels renewed. Just like the drums, the guitars also show off a collection of proficiencies that exceed the boundaries of typical black metal stunts like tremolo picking, dissonant picking and power riffing; there are many harmonies and melodies involved in each track that make great use of diminished style riffs and picking that give the material it's uncomfortable, eerie side effect. The guitars are truly what controls the feel of the album overall, whether it be a tight onslaught of double bass blast beats backing frantic diminished strumming encumbered with shrieks or relaxed outfits of acoustic guitars being followed gently with light cymbal crashes and deep tom-toms as the soothing tenor vocals carry the lyrics.
Delicate Poison is a warmly depressing journey through a variety of musical endeavors that are presented in a bleakly sensitive atmosphere. The listener will be shoved harshly through pandemonium with thick, suffocating power riffs and blast beats and then soothed with gentle lulls of acoustics and diminished picking. However, the album won't be for everyone; specifically the black metal elitist or those into Satanic black metal. This material is all about a journey through life struggles, hate, desolation and misery. Definitely worth a listen through the Hypnotic Dirge Records Bandcamp, and it's always good to buy it if you like it.
Reviewed by: Villi Thorne
In : Album Reviews
Tags: in my shiver delicate poison black metal blackgaze post-rock depressive rock katatonia ulver solefald