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Siebenburgen - "Revelation VI" (CD)

Siebenburgen - "Revelation VI" CD cover image

"Revelation VI" track listing:

1. Awaken (2:07)
2. Rebirth Of The Nameless (3:50)
3. Infernaliia (4:42)
4. Revelation VI (5:21)
5. Grimheim (5:20)
6. After The Wolf (Do Dead Men Follow) (6:25)
7. S.I.N. (4:26)
8. The Oaken Throne (3:38)
9. The Soulless (4:28)
10. Enter Omega (Bonus Track) (3:09)
11. In Sanctum (4:55)
12. Fire Leaps High (4:37)
13. At The End Of Twilight (4:01)

Reviewed by on February 9, 2009

"From the thrash influenced guitars to the ethereal female vocals there should be enough of a pull for most fans of either symphonic black metal or Gothic metal to pick up the album."

It’s not often that a metal album can be accurately judged by its cover art. From overzealous rock bands using Viking warriors who are wading through monsters with a blood stained axe or death metal bands that go for muted and understated covers, art that matches the music is a rarity. Not only is the cover for Siebenburgen’s “Revelation VI” visually stunning, but it should immediately let a potential fan know if they need to lay down the dough or not. The dead and crumbling woods in the backgrounds clearly portrays their heavy black metal influence, the angel statue weeping blood provides the obvious goth edge, and the silky swirling colors around the angel’s sword speaks of the clean female vocals.

“Revelation VI” starts with the genre standard build-up track that uses a drum beat to lead up to the big metal explosion. As would be expected from a symphonic black metal act, it also utilizes muted keyboard sounds to give the impression of an evil rising on the wind and rushing towards the listener. The transition into the first real metal track, “Rebirth of the Nameless,” is smooth and solid, with a miniature drum solo and the mandatory piercing scream. The drumming is actually the real highlight of the track, as it sustains the rhythm exceedingly well and never gets stuck in blast beat territory.

Although the keyboards are often placed second to the intertwining guitars, they keep up a good variety and generally fit snugly with all the other sounds. Depending on how the vocals are working, they switch effortlessly from dark and menacing to upbeat with a fairy tale like quality. The male growls are throaty and have a decent range, shifting from high to low without ever completely switching styles. Occasionally a second layer of the growls are added on top to give a more demonic and guttural sound which really boosts the visceral feel. Their counterpart in the clean female vocals will thrill fans of Gothic oriented music or people looking for something a little more mainstream. While they may turn off fans of straight black metal, the female vocals don’t take center stage often enough to make the album a total wash.

The bass can also be heard frequently, but like with most black metal bands, it gets overpowered by the guitars from time to time. Other than the bass getting led astray, the overall production is about as good as it gets for a symphonic black metal release. The dual guitars more than make up for suppressing the other instruments, as they give a fast paced and catchy sound that will hook casual listeners and give the more astute audience more to work through over repeated listens.

“Revelation VI” boasts a few interesting variations between the songs to keep the music from ever blending together. “Grimheim” sports an opening that seems like it’s about to break out into chanting monks and then unexpectedly brings in fast and heavy thrash guitars much different from anything heard earlier. “The Sanctum” gives another change up of note, with the entire song keeping constant thunder and rain going in the background that is periodically penetrated by a wailing siren off in the distance. The sirens keep up for the entire three minute interlude but are incorporated into the music well enough that they never become distracting or annoying.

The only real problem with the album is that sometimes it can’t quite decide whether it wants to be brutal black metal or more toned down Goth. The two genres are a lot like political parties on opposite ends of the spectrum. While both may want to reach the same general goal, they each go about achieving that goal in drastically different ways that are generally at odds with one another. If Siebenburgen either added in a good deal more Gothic elements or went with a more metal sounding female vocalist the identity crisis wouldn’t be nearly as apparent.

Like most symphonic black metal albums these days, “Revelation VI” doesn’t tread a whole lot of new ground, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable. From the thrash influenced guitars to the ethereal female vocals, there should be enough of a pull for most fans of either symphonic black metal or Gothic metal to pick up the album.

Highs: Thrashy dual guitars, great drumming, interesting keyboard melodies

Lows: Female vocals don't perfectly fit the black metal tone, doesn't add much new to the genre

Bottom line: A decent Gothic-laced symphonic black metal release with just a touch of thrash

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)