Release Date: 17/07/2020
Record Label: Self-Released
For Fans Of: Abigail Williams, Behemoth and Septicflesh
Canadian purveyors of ultra-modern black metal, Serene Dark return with their latest album Enantiodromia. Taking key elements of Dimmu Borgir and Septicflesh and mixing them with a fittingly introspective concept, can these newcomers blast their way into the extreme metal cannon? Prepare to be sucked into the maelstrom.
The typical production of black metal, or lack thereof, generally defines whether you enjoy the genre or not. However, Serene Dark offer a refreshing alternative to the default aesthetic with a fantastic contemporary sheen and laser-tight performances. Cuts like ‘Trance Of Disintegration’ and ‘Reflecting Envenomed’ balance deathcore-like chugs with frigid soundscapes and epic orchestration, creating an appropriately pitch-black atmosphere. Vocals flit from typical shrieks, to spoken word, to Troy Sanders-style gravelly singing, all of which are employed in excellent fashion, giving the band a creative edge over their contemporaries. Clearly influenced by genre-overlords Behemoth, everything sounds gigantic, yet liquid in its execution with an excellent feel for dynamics.
Critically speaking, it’s difficult to find anything technically wrong with this album. No single note or rhythmic inflection feels out of place – but that might just be the problem. All ten tracks seem to blur together into a long, glossy wash of extremity, great if that’s your vibe, but if you enjoy black metal when it stretches the boundaries Enantiodromia has little to offer you. The length of the record does it very little favours either. Music this intense tends to work better in smaller doses, unless you’re doing something out-of-this-world, there’s no need to drag it out.
If you’re tired of wearing out your copy of Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia and want something fresh in this style with some new ideas, then Serene Dark have got all bases covered. But if you enjoy the grimier aspects of black metal then this album is definitely not for you, and in many ways the super-sanitised production could be a little off-putting even for a casual fan of this style. However, Enantiodromia is not a bad record, and if you need some symphonic bleakness in your life, stick it on and let it sweep you away.
Recommended Track: ‘Trance Of Disintegration’