Monday, August 29, 2011

Review: Argentum (Mex) - Ad Interitum Funebrarum

Mexican old school Death and Black Metal scenes are quite well known among the underground, thanks to bands like Cenotaph, Shub Niggurath and The Chasm. Hidden among them, was a unique Doom/Black Metal band called Argentum. Formed in 1993, Argentum have released 2 studio albums.

Ad Interitum Funebrarum, Argentum's first album is an ancient-sounding, highly atmospheric Doom/Black Metal. Their playing style is similar to 90s epic Doom Metal masters Solitude Aeturnus, but has a more Death/Doom vibe in the sound, yet quite unlike what one might expect. There isn't any Celtic Frost worship here, nor is there any trace of diSEMBOWELMENT. The sound, mostly the guitar tone, is very similar to early The Chasm and Cenotaph. The production quality of the album adds heavily to the atmosphere the band tries to create here. The band mostly focuses on mid-paced or slower riffs, but certain Thrashy, fast sections can be heard at places in the album. The riffs are mostly simple, palm-muted, played in the style of Bolt Thrower. They are accompanied by blazing, melodic guitar solos, enhancing the eerie atmosphere and adding a touch of melancholy at times. Some songs have acoustic intros and sections, which suit their sound perfectly. The band incorporates synths in their music and can be heard throughout. The synth takes away absolutely nothing from the music, but in fact, it takes the atmospheric quality a step further, which is certainly a good thing. The bass is not very clear or audible, but emerges when you pay enough attention, and actively search for the bass strings plucking away. The production quality is to blame in this case. The vocals vary between death and black metal styles, and have an echo effect to them, giving them a crypt-zombie effect. The drumming is accurate, with no sign of sloppiness to it, and although it does not stand out, it is an important part of the music here. In company of each other, the instruments manage to invoke a very desolate and eerie atmosphere, which is consistent throughout the album.

The songs are quite well written, with riffs arranged properly to avoid a disjoint feeling and guitar solos placed at appropriate times through a song. The synth goes perfectly in harmony with the riffs. Every member and every instrument used here has a major contribution. The musicians play their instruments with near-perfection, with no sign of amateurism or inexperience. In spite of this, how Argentum managed to be overlooked, is beyond me.

Ad Interitum Funerbrarum showcases the perfect use of guitar solos and synth in harmony with Heavy riffs, without sounding lame or wanky. The production might put some people off, but that is only a minor drawback here. Highly recommended for Doom Metal fans.


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