“ Artist: Argentum / Genre: Hard Rock & Metal / Release Year: 2001 „
What happened to my favourite Mexican atmospheric-drone-doom-black metal band? Argentum's debut release back in 1996 was a cracker of an album, gloomy and sinister but melodic and uplifting at the same time, but the long-awaited 2001 follow-up seems to have abandoned all trace of what made their previous sound so compelling. Most probably the fault of line-up changes that saw guitarist Chebb Maelstrom leave among others, Argentum's second - and to date, final - album is merely another light melodic black metal album with annoying delusions of orchestral grandeur similar to Dimmu Borgir thanks to new keyboard player Henry Graves.
This isn't bad metal, and I'd rather listen to it than anything contemporary by Dimmu Borgir, but it lacks the inspired and slightly cheesy Latin individuality of 'Ad Inferitum Funebrarum,' replacing it with even cheesier, domineering symphonic keyboards and uninspired melodic death metal riffs. Khabee's vocals are even burpier and a little dafter sounding than on the debut where they integrated perfectly, and the cleaner production sound robs the lead guitars of the eeriness and emotion they once had, now sounding like any other band that mixes melodic lead melodies with chugging rhythms. All the songs sound the same, with the obvious exception of Graves' piano instrumental 'Bassium Mortis' (as if he wasn't already taking over all the other songs), and any attempts to diversify fall completely flat, such as Senoath's boring, clumsy and out-of-tune bass solo in the middle of 'Mors Imperium Aetheriam.'
The most positive thing I can say about this new direction is that Argentum doesn't try to be aggressive, as seems to be the norm for melodic extreme bands, but in abandoning the depressive and atmospheric direction of their previous work they have severely lost their way, explaining their apparent and unfortunate deterioration some time hereafter. I would have been slightly more impressed if I hadn't heard this after its excellent predecessor, but only slightly.
1. Descensus Nigrum Part I
2. The Gardens of the Unsane Renovation
3. Mors Imperium Aetheriam
6. Bassium Mortis
7. Acrimonia-Mater Dolorosa