MY KINGDOM MUSIC
Italian occultists Encephias return with their eponymous fifth album to celebrate a decade of extreme metal releases. The band combine elements of death, black, doom and gothic metal with occult themes to create a dark and rich sound that draws on the likes of Moonspell, Rotting Christ, Paradise Lost and Type O Negative.
The album is the final part of a trilogy of albums that started with 2011's 'Inferno', followed by 2013's 'Necrogod', but in their self-titled effort the band display their most mature songwriting to date, with a greater emphasis on melody than ever before. Soaring guitars, thrashing drums and subtle atmospheric keyboards are permeated by distinctive vocal style that sound like a cross between Bo Summer (Illdisposed) and Fernando Ribeiro (Moonspell).
Songs such as 'A Field Of Flowers', 'Born To Kill And Suffer', 'The Criminal', 'Wind Of Doom', 'Nyctophillia', and 'Vipra Negra' are particular highlights with their balance of heavy riffs, soft melodies and an ever present head-banging pace. The album has the mass appeal of dark rock with the unrelenting heaviness of extreme metal and should play well to fans of both camps.
In terms of production it is for the most part of the quality that you would expect from the genre, aside from in a few places with the distortion on the guitars sound rather tinny and having an unfortunate tendency to get swamped in the mix. Otherwise it is a strong and high quality effort.
This is a sinister and bewitching effort from the Italian quintet that is sure to go down well with dark metal fans. Ten years and five releases down the line they look to be on the best form of their career and hopefully this album will serve them well in propelling them through the next decade.