|Review: Root - Hell Symphony|
Label: I Hate Records
Year released: 2008
Originally released in: 1991
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: September 8, 2009
Reviewed by: Jason Cominetto
Hell Symphony is a huge step up from Root's first album, Zjevení. Being the band's second release, Hell Symphony shows Root departing from the run-of-the-mill and standard type of Black Metal they churned out with their first release into a more explorative and layered sound. Never in this album does it sound like all the instruments are scrambled up, as the mixing is incredible and all the instruments are clearly distinguishable, whether it is the pummeling drums or the sinister, and sometimes melodic, guitar.
But the real jewel in the album's crown isn't in the excellent mixing, but in the fact that each track is completely all its own. Never does it sound like Root recycled riffs from one song to another, but that the band meticulously laid out each and every track so that they sounded wholly original. With that come the many different elements and styles of music Root seems to draw from in order to succeed in making each track excellent in their own right. For example, the use of acoustic guitars in intros, interludes, and sometimes even layered on top of electric guitars (to great effect) can be found in numerous songs, while some songs don't have them at all. I love how each song is completely differentiable from the next, as it shows that Black Metal doesn't have to sound like indecipherable noise, but that it can be involving, approachable, and most of all, interesting. "Satan" consists of only drums and vocals, "Leviathan" is an engrossing epic that makes great use of descending scales, "Belzebub" is a somewhat thrashy yet melodic assault of speed and intensity, while "The Prayers" is a mostly acoustic track that starts off beautiful but slowly immerses the listener in a vile and evil atmosphere as if they were entering hell itself, and the list goes on.
This is a must have album, and should be picked up by fans of Black Metal and at least looked into by those who don't like Black Metal that much. I know I don't find myself listening to the genre as much, but I can't deny the greatness of this album and it may have singlehandedly gotten me into Black Metal, as I'm sure it will for you too if you check it out.
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