CD REVIEW Sear Bliss

Band: Sear Bliss
Title: Eternal Recurrence
Label: Candlelight Records
Distribution: Plastic Head Distribution
Release date: 23/ 01/2012
Review: CD

After almost five years, finally, a new album by Sear Bliss. They haven’t gone, praise the Horned One!

No, seriously, I am a fan of this band since their 1995-demo The Pagan Winter. Reasons are legio. Imagine, back then, a band from the East of Europe (Hungary, to be exactly specific), bringing a progressive (I’m still referring to almost two decades ago) form of slow-paced Black Metal with addition of horn blowers… And believe me, not of the stupid or infantile, poppy kind! I do consider their debut full length studio album Phantoms (which was the first release on the new label II Moons, which did re-release the formerly mentioned demo in 1997, one year after the debut album, as well) as the best East-European Black Metal-release (Poland and Czech Republic not included) that very same year.
Anyway, the band developed, evidently, with heights and lows, yet not one single record could disappoint me. And it took quite a time, since 2007’s Arcane Odyssey, but finally: Eternal Recurrence, going further than ever before…

The evolution this band is known for did / does reach a new highlight. …for sure. The basics are still built upon slow-paced Black-eruptions, somewhat undergroundish and with a doubtless East-European attitude in sound; but the orchestrations this band is known for go way beyond imagination. The blow-sections (damn, seems like I’m reviewing a new soft-porn movie) are crazier than ever before (and damn, but why do Laibach and Mister Zorn come to mind from time to time?), the progressive avant-gardism comes to its peak, and in spite of the recognizable sound, one can not, and I repeat: not, simply compare this stuff with a general past history.

And I’d like to come back on that ‘progressive avant-gardism’… Sometimes I get the impression that Angelo Badalamenti (he’s the guy who did create lots of soundtrack material for, for example, David Lynch’s visuals) did some re-arrangements, then again the jazzling ‘post’-scene from Norway seems rather manifest (mind Solefald, Bloodthorn, Borknagar, The Kovenant), and on top of it Sear Bliss do explore dimensions unspoiled before… It isn’t suddenly revealing, yet rather foreseen, yet without ignoration of the band’s true core. The continuous development is evident, as if it were not only for the increased clean vocal parts, the semi-bombastic arrangements, or the modernistic instrumentation (going for both the trumpet-parts as well as, for example, the spherical or bombastic synths or electronics - sometimes enormously Samael-ish, era as from the late-nineties on).

My ‘problem’ is: fifteen years ago, this could be amazing. Nowadays, it still thrills, yet it does not surprise anymore. At least, not all of the time. And then again, what to think ‘bout songs like “Entering The Seventh Gate”, which I do consider the enigmatic highlight of this album (even though opener ”The Eternal Quest”, amongst some other excerpts, does please me enormously - the quasi-orgiastic way)…

The mainly slow tempo (a rather doomish approach) and the melancholic melodies -and that’s not new- will certainly please the open-minded Doom-fans too, and the increased addition of sonic experiments and additional sounds and soundscapes will be a challenge, yet a brave one, for open-minded Metal fans in general.

Thirty seven minutes in its totality, not that long, yet satisfyingly well-stipulated for such an unusual ‘experimentic’ Doom / Black-epic.

77/100

Ivan Tibos.