September 28, 2007 | , | 3.5

Sear Bliss, The Arcane Odyssey

After releasing five albums elsewhere, Sear Bliss have let loose their latest album The Arcane Odyssey through Candlelight Records. The cult black metal band performs with an epic quality to their music that gives it quite a large sound. Adding to their unique take on the genre, Sear Bliss incorporates brass instrumentation with great effectiveness. The added musical influence gives the album an enchanted, dark feel while retaining many classical elements.

A majority of the album consists of complexly written musical scores blended with extreme riffs, soaring solos and anthemic brass orchestration. It’s a unique sound that give this band’s latest album a unique feel that makes it stand out among the throng of extreme black metal out there.

Blood on the Milky Way
Weighing in at just over eight minutes in length, “Blood on the Milky Way” starts off nicely with some big riffs and powerful drumming. Raspy death vocals kick in just before the one minute mark and fit the melodic sound well. They don’t wait long before bringing the horns — giving the music a decidedly national pride, anthemic feel. It’s an interesting dynamic with the quick paced black metal pouring from my speakers. AndrĂ¡s Nagy’s vocals don’t stray too far from his mid-tone stock delivery, but he does change up the pitch a bit to break up any monotony in his voice. There is an insane solo at the 4:30 mark.

A Deathly Illusion
After a slow start (involving keyboards, memorable guitar work ad light drums for a minute and half) Sear Bliss punch a hole through the side of your head with a nasty growl and a wall of metal. This is probably the catchiest track on the album. More brass instrumentation punctuates the bands sound.

Lost and Not Found
There are some really dark, Black Sabbath like riffs on this one. “Lost and Not Found” is evil as all get out, yet still has well written melodies and memorable riffs. The 3:23 mark on the song showcases the band’s soaring solo work.

Thorns of Deception
I love the bass drum, driving riff combo that starts out this track before it devolved into a chaotic blackness of classic black metal. The vocals are much deeper and guttural. The music is pretty straight forward in it’s message, as well. There are some more horns halfway through the song, but they don’t last too long.

The Venomous Grace
After a few moments of sound effects and keyboard work, the band hits with some huge, chugging riffs. I love the tempo and cadence to this one — it’ll have you head banging and throwing your devil horns in no time.

Omen of Doom
“Omen of Doom” starts out with drums of doom and melodic riffing. The keyboard is used well on this track — never too much to distract, but just the right amount to add a little extra something to the song. Feedback ends this one as it fades into the next track.

After “Omen of Doom” slowly fades, this next track picks up the pace immediately with some memorable riffing and driving drum work. It’s the longest song on the album, coming it at just over nine minutes. Sear Bliss do a wonderful job filling that length of time with plenty to keep you entertained and never meandering. At least for the first seven minutes they do. I’m not sure if the next 2 plus minutes of silence are intentional or a mistake, but the placement is odd.

Path to the Motherland
The final track, “Path to the Motherland,” picks up after that bit of silence with some string orchestration, before an odd sort of dance beat accompanies it. Thankfully both are quickly swallowed with huge riffs and evil vocals — they rear their ugly heads throughout the track, but are always overwhelmed by dark metal riffing.

~ ~ ~

It took me a few listens to this one to fully appreciate the epic sound that Sear Bliss brings to the black metal genre. I wasn’t fully into the incorporation of brass initially as I’ve heard them played poorly on other band’s albums, but it’s use has grown on me and has give the album a more more anthem-like quality.

Favorite Tracks:
Blood on the Milky Way
A Deathly Illusion
Thorns of Deception

Additional Notes: