Epitimia - Faces of Insanity
Hypnotic Dirge
Depressive Black Metal/Post-Rock
9 songs (52:08)
Release year: 2012
Epitimia, Hypnotic Dirge
Reviewed by Charles
A few weeks back I reviewed Mourner Portraits by Silent Path; some pretty adept DSBM from Hypnotic Dirge. The label recently prodded me about this record as well, which they sent out at the same time but which I’d failed to get to. Stylistically, Epitimia are an archetypal Hypnotic Dirge band- rooted in funereal black metal but with an interest in gloomily tuneful post-rock ideas. They are a Russian band, and their sound also reminds me somewhat of their compatriots Stielas Storhett, whose Expulse I also covered last year. Like that project, this blends together slow and doomy black metal with heavy melodic rock influences. Unfortunately, in my view Faces of Insanity is a somewhat underdeveloped record which doesn’t achieve the interest or emotive power of either of the bands mentioned above.

The opener, Reminiscentia, is suitably disturbing, laced with shrieks and grandiose ambiance, but it’s also quite rudimentary. The backbeat plods and the guitars noodle. This, in fact, sets the pattern for the rest of the record. While pretty much every song is nicely marinated in melancholy (Marinated in Melancholy is a good name for an album- if anyone wants to use it we can sort something out), and while there are also some flashes of experimentation (e.g. the slightly cumbersome jazz rhythms that open Jamais Vu), the basic template is a ponderous one. Thuddingly mid-tempo drumming is omnipresent, and guitar lines meander, hummably but often without much direction. There is plenty of slow, reverb-heavy lead guitar parts as well. But the walking pace tempos can get dull, and the melodic ideas rarely conjure the elegance or grace that would place them alongside with the best in the field. Combined, these elements sound too simplistic and rigid.

The musicianship here is a limitation. There are some errors which detract from the record’s credibility- one obvious example the drum fluff 4:37 of Leucotomy. The sudden acceleration into faster doom-death in Altered State of Consciousness seeks to inject dynamism but feels somewhat strained. This track also features waif-like clean female vocals that give it a Euro-goth vibe- a nice touch, but again it lacks sufficient subtlety or skill.

The album is not devoid of interest- Epitimia do have a degree of creative flair. Leucotomy’s melodies hint at a warped rendition of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy which, if intentional, is a whimsical touch. Jamais Vu is full of odd noises and mad, Silencer-like shrieking. And Lethe is an interestingly minimalist closer. But, the record as a whole isn’t executed with a convincing level of finesse.

Killing Songs :
Jamais Vu, DS Schizophrenia
Charles quoted 55 / 100
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