Cadaveria have been around since 2001 and in that time they’ve released a handful of albums to a measure of success but ultimately are yet to taste the heights of their musical peers.
Being dropped from their label certainly hasn’t helped them progress but where as many bands have simply faded away and disbanded quietly, Cadaveria have soldiered on, refusing to let the knock stop them. They may have been better off not waiting 5 years between albums but none the less the band appears to have a loyal fan base established.
Having an album titled ‘Horror Metal’ as well left me with some doubts as to whether I would like what I would hear. My immediate associations were the tacky cyber sounds of almost everything Wednesday 13 has been involved in and generic death metal with movie samples starting every song. I pressed play tentatively.
‘Flowers in Fire’ introduces itself gradually – A door slams and a bell chimes while footsteps crunch past. There’s a sound of murmured voices and some digging. The atmosphere is building when someone screams their death rattle and the guitars lead themselves in. Clean toned and slow is not your usual way to start your album but it works here as the parts of the whole build up, sitting comfortably beneath vocalist Lady Cadaverias (almost too) soft vocals. Following that the heaviness kicks at a moderate windmilling pace and we’re given a demonstration of her more aggressive side but when the chorus comes in, for me, her vocals completely stole the track.
This is one of those moments when I’m glad I was wrong. I think I’m going to like this album.
‘The Night’s Theatre’ wastes no time with making its presence known and brings thoughts of Arch Enemy but with both the clean and “metal” vocals. The song has a lot of groove and melody to it as well as faster, heavier riffage so it really is a consistent amalgamation of three of metals main aspects, which is nice.
‘Death Vision’ has a dronier feel to it and the double time chorus made me think vaguely of Satyricon but soon enough the pace is dropped again and Cadaverias cleans vocals whist by in just a couple of lines. So far this track is a bit of a dud for me. There’s too many chords ringing out and not much else happening on the top. There’s no real melody to speak of outside of the vocals so the song just seems to drag. It almost saves itself with a lead break that sounded like it was going to be a real belter but very disappointingly, it just rings and fades out a bit abruptly.
Feeling a bit deflated after such a good start, I stopped here to make a brew.
Upon my return I continued with ‘Whispers (of Sin)’ hoping it could re-inflate me a bit. It did. It kicks in and then keeps kicking. This is a great slab of old sounding death metal and the fastest tempo so far. After an extended onslaught the half time drop brings us into a more melodic sound reminiscent of ‘Morbid Angel’ before returning to its higher velocities. That thin veil of clean vocals wraps around the melodic parts quite comfortably but this song is definitely written more for the ‘roar’ than than the ‘ahhhh’.
The first clear hints of orchestration lead ‘Assassin’ into a rolling rhythm with Cadaveria utilising all her vocal capability into one sound with clean backing aggressive and vice versa. The combination of her vocals here and the way they seem to weave in and out of each other brings a much bigger sound but I do wonder how would it work and sound in a live capacity? So far this is my favourite melodic section of the album. A crushing riff follows and all is well but the bridge that follows doesn’t quite sound like it should be there, having a “glued on” feel to it. Sadly it doesn’t seem to get any better. It doesn’t go horribly wrong as such. It just feels like this might be half of a great song and half of an OK song fused together by the afore-mentioned ‘Bridge of Glue’.
‘The Days of the After and Behind’ brings more slow and strummy and with it that feeling of the song never really going anywhere, though I did enjoy the rolling kick drums. The guitars are there but they don’t seem to do very much but drag things out to an unnecessary 6 minutes and 3 seconds. In all honesty, I think this track should have been left on the mixing floor.
Considering what I have just said about the previous track, ‘Apocalypse’ manages to follow suit at a similarly slow pace but this time, instead of an uninspiring drone, we get it in the form of a nice thrash-esque pattern. Though not entirely consistent, the song does possess much by way of shred and groove. In fact, the groove at 4:07 is great but it also left me wondering why it was there. As good as it is, it just didn’t fit so well for me. However, having Lady Cadaverias soft vocals lain over the groove before launching into a high velocity scream was a cool way to end the song.
‘The Oracle (of the Fog)’ comes across like southern influenced melodic metal at points and it wasn’t long before my head was bobbing along. After two consecutive let down tracks, this has perked me up a bit.
Upping the pace and bringing some bounce-factor ‘Requiem’ is very windmill friendly at points and carries a lot of groove with it. As with the rest of the album the song twists and turns between the (now more obvious) groove/fast/slow structure and the opening/verse riffs are enjoyable with a slight Arch Enemy feel to them; but as also seems to have been part of the structure, there are parts that sound out of place with the rest of the song. Having said that, the middle section here is quite good. what concerns me here is that this is a good song that seems to do all this and end having made very little impact on me.
‘This is not the Silence’ is a step back in the right direction. It’s got a lovely stable riff that keeps the groove heavy and relevant alongside the surprisingly upbeat melodic parts and discordant verses. There’s a purveying Arch Enemy feel here that hadn’t quite shown as much on other tracks, which is a shame because this is actually a really good tune. The song is completed with a Machine Head-esque heavy as fuck fade out riff.
Even after a great tune like that I’m still a little thankful to be at the end of the album. I’m hoping that ‘Hypnotic Psychosis’ will finish me off on an absolute belter.
Well, it’s not a belter exactly, but it is a very good song. A heavy melody and mostly simplistic drums evolve into a freakin Disco beat (?) that coupled with Lady C’s great sounding vocals, the song gets taken into a level all of its own.
Sadly the album wasn’t as I had hoped but the good thing about starting and ending on strong tracks is that the listener starts and finishes the album on a high.
I have to point out that I had was completely unaware of Cadaveria until I received ‘Horror Metal’ for review so, like any music fan, I investigated the band and read up on the album. Several of the reviews I read were pretty harsh and only a few, I felt, really gave a fair and objective review. Many of them read like they had judged the album before they even pressed play. One even went as far as putting down the cover art which, while not masterpiece of invention, has nothing to do with how the album will sound. Most of the album sounds spot on but there are parts that sound like it was rushed to meet the studio deadline. At times the album holds itself together tightly and solid with tracks like ‘The Night Theatre’, the first half of ‘(Whispers of) Sin’ and ‘This is not the Silence’ all demonstrating clearly that Cadaveria are totally capable of writing kick ass metal tunes with a little something for everyone. But more often than not the album seems disjointed and rushed.
Having been away for so long it’s highly commendable that Cadaveria have persisted and are still determined to do their thing, their way. Here’s hoping that they have a better ride this time around.