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Veil Of Secrets - Dead Poetry (2020) - Review

Band: Veil Of Secrets
Album title: Dead Poetry
Release date: 30 November 2020
Label: Crime Records
Genre: Doom Metal, Gothic Metal

Tracklist:
01. The Last Attempt
02. Sear The Fallen
03. Remorseful Heart
04. The Lie Of Her Prosperity
05. Fey
06. Bryd
07. Meson
08. Entirety

By many one of the most anticipated doom metal albums this year is the one that marks the return of Vibeke Stene (ex-Tristania) to the music scene after almost 13 years. In Veil Of Secrets together with Asgeir Mickelson, best known for having played the drums in Borknagar, Sarke, Ihsahn and many others, they create a pure dark and gloomy doom that leaves mixed feelings. This kind of doom is not something that you would expect to hear from these two artists, and Dead Poetry is not an album that can be easily digested, but on the other hand, it can become rather enjoyable after some listenings.

Those who liked Vibeke's tender soprano and celestial voice in Tristania will get a lot of it here, but too many times the vocals and music feel disjointed. Vocals are delicate, haunting and melancholic, and also the music is all of that, but unfortunately too often the instrumental parts are too strong (or vocals too soft) and it makes too much of a contrast. The more aggressive and groovy parts are often accompanied by growling vocals performed by Erling Malm (Endolith, Articulus), and it certainly adds certain dynamics to their music. As well the violin parts performed by Sareeta (Ram-Zet, ex-Ásmegin), are here to bring even more melancholy and a certain gothic/neoclassical atmosphere.

The album can soon feel monotone, there are not many stand-out parts, and to be truthful the music doesn't offer something new. Think of My Dying Bride, early Candlemass, early Solitude Aeturnus, Autumn Tears, with a touch of Tristania from World Of Glass/Ashes, all mixed, and you might get an impression of what to expect. The songs don't differ that much one from another, still, there are some truly captivating moments in songs like "Remorseful Heart", "The Lie Of Her Prosperity", "Byrd", and in the well-done closing song "Entirety".

The music is throughout dark and melancholic, guitar lines are typical for doom with captivating melodic riffs and some tasteful short leads here and there, while the drums are crushing, strong and pounding. The slow and melodic rhythmic lines are enriched by mournful atmospheric additions and thanks to the violin and a couple of symphonic layers, everything is more dramatic. But as I said before, the mix between music and vocals most of the time doesn't find the right chemistry on this record, and too many times it feels forced out, if not bland and soulless, even though that the lyrics are about deep matters.

Veil Of Secrets certainly has a lot of potentials, which isn't shown here as it should be. Sure, the album gets better with every consequent spin, but it doesn't reach any kind of creative heights no matter what, and yes, also in the doom metal fields of today there are many better things to be found. Still, I welcome Vibeke Stene's return, and I'm sure that on the next offering the things will be done as they should be.

The review was written by Tomaz
Rating: 6,5/10

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