April 14, 2008

Estatic Fear - A Sombre Dance

Artist: Estatic Fear
Album: A Sombre Dance
Year: 1999
Genre:Symphonic metal,
Country: Austria

Estatic Fear is an Austrian symphonic metal band. Their songs include elements of several different genres, such as Classical, Doom Metal and Folk music.The band was founded in the year of 1994 with the intent of combining both classical melodies, Dark metal and Gothic metal styles in an instrumental mixture of lute, flute, piano and cello.

Three years after the release of their elegiac and magnificent "Omnium Obmutum" (1996) Estatic Fear returned with another album filled with intense emotions and inspiration. The name of it "A Sombre Dance" and for one more time this Austrian act managed to give a title fitting with the atmosphere of the compositions in the most ideal way. Indeed the album is "a sombre dance" while you lose yourself dancing, manoeuvring in the esotericism of melancholy and visions that come forth from tales of medieval sorrow and grief. When the time comes to compare "A Sombre Dance" to "Somnium Obmutum", the first in terms of song structure is for sure more affected and every single passage is well-thought and well-put, showing that the band has matured a lot in these three years. The variety of the instruments participating remains wide and the instrument interpretation on "A Sombre Dance" is better, with every member of the band and guest musician pouring themselves in the final outcome. Of course the folk touch has remained and it is vivid mainly in the acoustic passages. The compositions this time have a Haggard approach and they are less doom metal oriented, but don't think that Estatic Fear have become a Haggard rip off band, there's no way that this would happen, they just lend some elements from their sound and that's all. Another influence someone may notice is Loreena McKennitt that seems to have spread her seeds in the band as well (just listen to "Part I", if the vocal lines and structure won't remind you of Loreena McKennitt then I don't know what to say). This time the rhythm section is vivid in the sound of the band, but still it doesn't hold the ideal place in the production, but it's definitely better than on "Somnium Ombutum"
and lends a more dynamic approach to the compositions.

The guitar work for one more time is
utterly inspired and high
quality. The classical guitar passages
are just fabulous and
they lend the album a fragile and
dreamy or melancholic
feeling whereas the distorted guitar
riffing makes the overall
atmosphere more powerful.
The orchestral
passages are
highly inspired and come straight from the heart. The piano and the keyboard melodies evoke a dark and melancholic romanticism or a more vivid and intense atmosphere in the air, the flute lends its magical touch as well in the structure of the songs and every other classical instrument partaking in the overall outcome does its best to make the emotions deeper. The female operatic vocals this time are being used more and they are more affected, whereas the male vocals remain grunting, sounding in a way distorted at times, making the emotional charge more intense.


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