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Review: Hollenthon - Opus Magnum
Opus Magnum

Label: Napalm Records
Year released: 2008
Duration: 46:17
Tracks: 8
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: July 1, 2008
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
Opus Magnum

Rated 3.1/5 (62%) (10 Votes)

Hard to believe With Vilest Of Worms To Dwell was released waaaay back in 2001, but time flies. At last we get a reunion of the marvelous Hollenthon, and a follow-up seven years in the making. I thought their last work was an innovative blend of symphonic elements with rather technical Death Metal riffing, and it remained to be seen if they could recapture the magic.

Hollenthon have not changed their sound much, still mixing a heavy attack with orchestral leanings, not unlike Therion on Secret of the Runes. It must be admitted the whole sound is much less novel and adventurous than it sounded all those years ago, but only because many bands have mined the same vein since then. Hollenthon still stand out by using genuine classical inspiration, rather than leaning on movie soundtracks, and their implementation of choir effects makes them stand out from other bands who have tried this kind of thing. One real mark in Hollenthon's favor is their heaviness, which they do not neglect. Rather than use the symphonic elements as a reason to become softer and more melodic, Hollenthon use the percussive elements of classic composition to keep their guitar attack upfront. A side effect of this is that their death-style vocals still fit, unlike some bands like Eternal Tears of Sorrow, who have become so melodic their grunts sound completely off.

If there's a flaw in this album, it's that the songs don't have much individual identity, and even though they are all visceral and gripping, they are too complex to easily linger in the memory. Still, that's hardly going to blunt my enjoyment of this. Fans of Therion and Septic Flesh should definitely not miss this album.

Other related information on the site
Review: Opus Magnum (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: With Vilest of Worms to Dwell (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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