Almost Saint - ...For And Against Everybody (EP)
Self Financed
Gothic Symphonic Prog Black Metal
5 songs (28:14)
Release year: 2007
Almost Saint
Reviewed by Kayla

I’m one of those people who will occasionally be deeply bothered to an utterly ridiculous degree by small details that even I will admit are usually insignificant. This trait has endeared me to a few of my equally anal retentive English professors (ask me what “begs the question” means) but it will sometimes prove exasperating. While it has absolutely no impact on the quality of their music, Almost Saint’s name bothers me in an obscure way. My mind keeps wanting to make it plural or add an “a” in the middle to clarify it. As I said, however, that has nothing to do with the music. Almost Saint hail from Veszprém, Hungary and play a strange bastard child of gothic, symphonic and black metal that wants to break down genre boundaries, given some of the odd turns it takes now and again, but unfortunately suffers from a terminal lack of cohesion.

By and large, there’s nothing really wrong with the musicianship displayed on …For And Against Everybody; the playing is solid enough, unfortunately, it’s the way everything fits together. The base is clearly black metal, with blackened riffs, constant drum blasting and a vocalist straight out of early-ninties Norway. However, it’s been heavily cut with gothic and symphonic sensibilities (not to mention synthesizer lines) and a couple tracks which spiral off into the prog ether for a few measures. The opening track, Heart, epitomizes Almost Saint’s sound pretty well, with a moody, slow-building intro comprised of ambient synth noises and a human heartbeat, joined by a Moonspell-esque piano line and quickly subsumed into the song proper, which bears at least a passing similarity to Dimmu Borgir. Well, until around the third minute in, when it suddenly drops into a quiet acoustic interlude.

Unfortunately, despite all of this seeming variety, the pieces themselves just aren’t very interesting. The drumming reaches almost metronome levels of repetition, and most of the song itself consists of the same riff repeated until it reaches a major change in the song’s style. Repetition works, but only in a few genres, and this strange amalgamation isn’t one of them. Not to mention that it seems as though most of the tracks on …For And Against Everybody were written using the same formula (staccato riffs, elongated riffs underneath synth lines carrying the melody, acoustic interlude, repeat). The other major problem is the production; it’s raw enough to fit quite well with the black metal base, but it makes the rest of the aspects of the album sound amateurish.

This is not to say that …For And Against Everybody is without redeeming qualities. There are some interesting guitar leads and melodies which succeed in sounding pleasant, if not otherworldly, and manage to meld with the rest of the song. There are a few places, too, where Almost Saint drop back into purer black metal territory and suddenly become a competent black metal band rather than an experiment strained beyond its technical limit. It’s too bad they don’t do that for the majority of the album.

Killing Songs :
Only I Exist
Kayla quoted no quote
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