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Old Man's Child: Born of the Flickering

In its relatively short history, the Century Black label (an imprint of Century Media) has become a reliable source for cutting-edge black metal music. Their latest addition to the genre, Old Man's Child, is a worthwhile listen that adds potential to this subset of music.

There were those of us (myself included) who watched the inception and growth of death metal with suspicion - it seemed inherently limited, and there just didn't seem much potential. I've been long since proven wrong, by brilliant bands like Celtic Frost, In Flames, Hypocrisy and the unendingly genius Amorphis. I'll confess that black metal seemed, at the outset, to be in a similar situation - a style of music that was so focused on certain elements that it excluded much of importance.

As before, I continue to be proven wrong. The brilliant Satyricon, the mesmerizing Dimmu Borgir, the mature and ambitious Ulver show that there is much to be done within this most aggressive of sounds, and Old Man's Child takes things a natural step further on Born of the Flickering.

Drummer Tjodalv (also a member of Dimmu Borgir) provides the intense and unrelenting tempo for this breakneck exposition of darkness. Above his rhythm lie layers of thick and crushing guitars, alternated with acoustic tones and tremolo-picked high-notes, often in strangely dissonant intervals. Of course, the obligatory gothic keys are there as well, but in fewer number than on most recent albums - they are placed with restraint and provide valuable atmosphere rather than attempt to take over.

In addition to the requisite heaviness and speed, there are some moments of true inspiration here, such as the classical guitar solos thrown into "On Through The Desert Storm", as well as the room-filling instrumental "Wounds From The Night of Magic." The vocalist of this outfit also deserves special credit for his performance, which sounds blessedly different from his contemporaries. All in all, it's a unique, enjoyable, grindingly involving trip through sonic darkness.

Added: January 1st 2004
Reviewer: SoT Archives
Score:
Hits: 1043
Language: english

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