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Berserk (CD 2010)
Review by
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Title: Solid Death/Black But Lacks Greatness
Written by: Lord_Ghengis, Jan. 29th 2011
Rating:
71/100

Language: English
From:
International

A 'user' review from 'The Metal Archives' - Encyclopaedia Metallum

Quotes from the Review:
“The sound is bombastic and clear, and the music takes full advantage of this switching between grooving riffs, tremolos, ambiance, blasting sections, symphonics and partially electronic sounds at all times”

“The riffs are typically pretty solid, and the heavy mix of chugging and grooves makes this sound pretty different to the usually hyper speed style”


Review:
Again, my insensitive prejudices have been proven wrong. When I imagine music from Jordan, or Egypt or anywhere around there I imagine cheaply done, sloppy raw music. While I have been shown that these bands do write quality music at times, I have always been pretty dead on with the lack of production values or western standards of professionalism. Right here though we have a Jordanian death/black act with a genuinely modern production job and an attention to detail that is as good as you'll find. The sound is bombastic and clear, and the music takes full advantage of this switching between grooving riffs, tremolos, ambiance, blasting sections, symphonics and partially electronic sounds at all times. This is very much something you could expect coming out of an American or European band.

Berserk is an album based around catchy, bouncy black/death riffing played at somewhere between a medium and fast pace. The riffs are typically pretty solid, and the heavy mix of chugging and grooves makes this sound pretty different to the usually hyper speed style. Tremolos add a little bit of a black metal flair to the sound, but the guitars are thick and the vocals gruff and low, making this generally have a warmer, more death metal vibe. Things don't change up very often, but a few little passages of extra sound effects, such as the epic synths in "Jormungander", or a more treble based riff pop up now and then to keep things lively.

The production is loud, clear and thoroughly western, largely working its way through any budget constraints with a full and well developed mix and sound. The only issue that I can find is the choice of snare drum sample for the drum machine, it's a very loud and hard strike, and works well through slower and mid paced parts, but when the blasting comes in it sounds very unnatural, a second snare sample without so much booming echo and power would have worked better. As it stands, a full speed blast beat played with snare hits that sound like they're being smashed by the apes from 2001: A Space Odyssey sounds just a bit off and weird.

As for the quality of the music it does start to run together, the pace is largely consistent and by the time you've been through to the fourth song "Eidolon" you've heard all the actual ideas that Bursheh has put on this album, and then the only things to keep this interesting are his song writing and his riffs but neither make this album ever develop beyond the initial "hey this is pretty cool" reaction which happens during the first ten minutes. The riffs are a little different from the norm so they never feel all that boring, but the quality of them never really gets beyond a 7/10 or so, there just aren't any riffs that will blow you away despite there not being many bad ones. Also the reliance on the grooves gets a little over done, occasionally cutting off a solid picked riff or interesting one, such as the middle of "Heathen" where a solid black metal riff and synth line are cut off for a one of the more plodding grooves and a dreary violin piece. He does throw enough changes in tempo into the mix to avoid it being a slog to get through, in fact it's a pretty fresh and enjoyable listen, but a combination of awkward transitions and that unrealistic blasting sound strips away the effect of a lot of the tempo changes.

This is basically Bouq's first album since changing the name to the current one and having a large change in musical style, and it is good one. It lacks the feel of the various images he's going for with his cover art and promotional pictures, but it does sound cool and I can't think of anyone who really sounds like it. The execution is far from bad, and the sound on this thing can cut it with bands from richer countries, but Bursheh hasn't really extracted anything great from it just yet, just a whole bunch of pretty good.

 


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