Thursday, September 19, 2013

In Silentio Noctus - Disenchant The Hypocrites (EP) (2013)

Don't let descriptions of tags fool you this time; symphonic black metal isn't the be all, and end all for In Silentio Noctus. That term, for better or worse, comes with a preconceived notion. Boiled down to the most basic stereotypes, it means black metal with a keyboard. That falsehood, started and furthered by bands before them who simply didn't know where the boundaries stretch do, doesn't do an ounce of justice here. In fact, that is only the tip of the iceberg for this Finnish six piece. There is so much more to be had in this genre, but it takes more than forward thinking to get you there. Luckily, with talented musicians forming the foundation, they have the ability to push those boundaries further and further, clouding the lines between black metal and symphonics once and for all. On their new EP, the three chapter offering wonderfully known as "Disenchant The Hypocrites," In Silentio Noctus remind us that words don't say it all. Sometimes, you need to let the music say it for you.

The first chapter of the saga, "The Pit" is as beautiful as any symphony you could imagine, but with evil undertones. What becomes striking here is the speed and aggression of the instrumental, boasting all of the tenets of black metal, but flanked on all sides by the masterfully orchestrated symphonic elements. Machine gun drums, backed by a crying violin can be moving, especially with the sublime voice of     Armi Päivinen layered just above them. Each passage is more grandiose than the last, culminating in a piano outro. It is part two, however, that may cut into you like a knife. "Of Deception" has some of the most intricate and mesmerizing symphonics you'll hear, all before the crashing drums and guitars have even woken from their slumber. It is controlled chaos, a beautiful storm that Päivinen must keep under wraps. Her voice is brooding and hypnotic, but at the same time, it matches the backing band, strength for strength. Never is that more evident, and necessary, as on the final chapter, "Haunted." With the drumming now ramped up to a new level, everything must rise to the occasion. This might be the perfect contrast of Heaven and Hell, an angelic voice over a devilish wave of distortion. If Satan held an opera, this would be it.

We tend to speak in vague terms, and watered down buzz words just to convey what it is, exactly, that a band does best. For the greater good, that isn't an entirely bad thing. But when our broad generalizations start to crystallize into accepted stereotypes, it might be time to refine the naming system. While many  bands identify themselves as "symphonic black metal," In Silentio Noctus embody it, bringing the orchestra pit directly to the gates of Hell. It is a constant struggle between light and dark, where neither one can, or should, win control; they must learn to coexist. And on this EP, more than any other in recent memory, light and dark, good and evil find harmony in their contrast, each strengthening the other. Should one take precedent, and the entire house of cards might come tumbling down as a result. Instead, they live together, breathe together, and move together as one entity, winged and horned. It might be easy to just use blanket terms, but there is a danger. What is a rectangle is a square, but a square is not a rectangle. And "Disenchant The Hypocrites" is symphonic black metal where the others are not.


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