Black Crucifixion, "Black Crucifixion"
"Faustian Dream" marks Finnish band Black Crucifixion's departure from their earlier, raw black metal style. Being unfamiliar with their previous efforts, "The Fallen One of Flames" and "Promethean Gift," I wasn't sure what to expect. According to my promo slip, though, I should have been expecting something earth-shattering - "the band’s most innovative work to date." A word to whoever writes these things: avoid hyperbolic, sensationalizing statements at all costs - you only set listeners up for disappointment. Opening with clean guitars, subpar synth, and amateur piano, "Faustian Dream" is by no means a groundbreaking listen. And with song titles like "As Black as the Roses (As Weak as My Smile)" and "Melancholy," expect nothing but a generic, doom/goth rock pity party. The music itself is reminiscent of standard doom metal with touches of goth rock, but one can sense a hint of black metal influence. Riffs are simplistic, repetitive, and predictable ("Winterkill" being an example of exceptionally bad riffage), but for the most part this lends well to the genre.
The worst part of the band is Forn's vocals. It's as though he's trying on a number of hats, but isn't quite sure which one goes best with his outfit. At times he comes off as trying too hard to sound in agony - and this is where the My Dying Bride influence is heard - except unfortunately, Aaron does it a lot better. His spoken word parts are good, and on certain tracks (e.g.: "Where Will You Hide"), his vocals fit quite well. My suggestion is to work on sounding more sombre and less pathetic. And speaking of pathetic, the lyrics on this album are just flat-out wretched at times; right out of a pseudo-depressed, angsty 16-year-old's livejournal. Lines like "give me your heart, you already have mine" and “Let us caress you with our tender hand / Don't fear the lizards, please understand” just make me roll my eyes and scoff. The whole album isn't horrible, however, as there are definitely moments where they're on to something, and "Frailest" is actually quite a good track. Keeping songs around mid-tempo, with slightly harsher vocals, and accenting them with slower, emotional parts would be a good vein for them to follow, as these are their strongest points. Although the production is solid, the guitars could be just a bit more sludgy, especially during slower progressions, as it sounds shallow and just doesn't achieve the crushing edge necessary for effective doom metal. It seems to be the case with most bands, that when making a transition to a different style, a couple albums are needed to really gain a strong grasp on the direction they want to go in. Let's hope this is the case with Black Crucifixion.
Wrath Without Hate