Cebren-Khal – A Mass of Despair   Leave a comment

Cebren-Khal from France are an rather interesting but obscure band who plays a odd, ornate blend of Death/Doom and Black Metal with a lot of emotion but they also have a lot of generic elements also. I don’t know much about them except they were formed in 2004 and released a demo the following year with this album coming out some 5 years later. The band comprises of Yves – Vocals, Matthieu and Laurent – guitars, Nicky – Bass and Dann on drums. “A Mass of Despair” is beautifully presented with stunning artwork and an lyric booklet and is another release on the Russian Solitude Productions label. The main ingredient to the style of this band is the Death/Doom style and that is where the music works best, at least for my tastes. The album is basically split in three parts with the second being an 18 minute trilogy titled “The Lunar Tragedy” and I guess this review should start there as its the main focus point of the album.

This epic consisting of three separate parts with the opening act, “The Parcae’s Night is Sleepless” is up-tempo in a melodic Black Metal style and is well, too tedious for my tastes. The track does improve greatly however in act 2 which is called “Mouroir, Mouroir, Suis-je le Plus Mort”. Here the band has a strong emotional dynamic which is something that is lacking on other parts of the disc, this and the third act “Experience of Downfall” have a good blend of melancholic passages to furiously fast black metal guitar riffs that while its smartly played, the faster BM sections sound like a weaker version of Dimmu Borgir who I think are very weak anyway while the more emotional driven melodic Death Doom parts come off sounding like recycled My Dying Bride. To match this amalgamation of styles you get vocals ranging from dark, spoken word passages to guttural Black Metal growls. The strongest parts of this epic are indeed really good, there is at least 5 to 6 minutes of satisfying material but the rest tends to sound messy and disjointed. Being the centerpiece of “A Mass of Despair”, its a make or break track which is a pity because the best cut here is the final track titled “Where All Faith is Lost”.

“Where All Faith is Lost” is an emotional draining example of the band making the blend work to their advantage but the track is ruined to an certain degree by the clumsy mix of Doom and Black Metal. This turns out to be more than just a passing problem as far as I hear it as it occurs a few times throughout the album. Instead of letting a song build in atmosphere and then unleash some Black Metal fury, it all happens too fast making it sound slapped together in a mad panic. The opening track “Mortshaped” is also suffers the same fate effectively destroying any emotional atmosphere that the song had in the beginning. While “A Mass Of Despair” is a promising release, I found it to be too much a hodgepodge of a album as it seems to be trying to be avant-garde but without any enduring arrangements. However, this is still something about this band that shows potential for the future, check it out for yourself…5/10
Cebren-Khal MySpace page
Solitude Prod./BadMoodMan Music

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Posted October 11, 2010 by doommantia in Cebren-Khal

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