Silenced Minstrel - Volume 666 - Reviewed By Metal Digest ! Check it out here at this link: https://metal-digest.com/2021/11/16/silenced-minstrel-volume-666/
I have always respected the works of Black Metal bands where the ship is commanded by one sole being, he who determines the destination, the one who hoists the sails…the one whose voyage is self-determined. For there is a certain mysticism involved in being the designer and creator all in one, as is much to be admired where one stares into the obsidian void, draws upon the energy and shapes the ink to their image they deem fit. Sometimes the result can be earnest where a part of the soul is imbued within the art, while other times, even though the mind holds a portrait to be birthed, the result that is pushed from the womb may not reflect that ideology.
This brings me to Silenced Minstrel’s ‘Volume 666’, in summary it is an album that shows much promising features, for I am certain on paper the architecture of this release seemed rather robust , but when transcribed to sound, it feels as though the vision that was once conceived, maybe was not fully formed.
Let’s address the positives, the instrumental portions where the tremolo picking is involved offers some creative variations, for at times they are neither static but rather fluid in the motions that are expelled, tracks such as ‘Of Twilight and Forgotten Ruins’ and ‘Lore of The Red Wind’ grants the listener short bursts of acoustic pieces that breaks up the frenetic riffing making these moments more discernable, but also savoring to the listener.
Where the production is concerned, ‘Volume 666’ is draped in a low-fi aesthetic that exudes a slick yet harsh icy tonality to its aura, and in my opinion, the album doesn’t completely utilizes this atmosphere to the best of its ability, for one can express a myriad of artistic ideas and emotions where a crude mix is concerned, for if used right it can be the very air that breathes life into the vessel that has been sculpted. ‘Faceless Pallbearers’ is a song which demonstrates this, again, the music structure is fairly well, but where the music and production should fuse and integrate into one another in order to foster a unified spirit, here it feels fragmented, where each variable exists on its own yet don’t seem to mix together like oil and water.
However one of the thorns that becomes quite jarring through my listening experience is the vocals, for it feels like an attempt to configure the vocal patterns to that of a standard harsh Black Metal register, but instead the delivery feels rather pale and flat in tone, at times it crumbles beneath the weight of the surrounding factors of the musical components. Where the vocals should be the titan that commands forth the elements or the pillars which strength holds the temple, here, it is obscured by the very atmosphere it should be thriving within.
Overall, I still have respect for someone who has seen their idea through the inception to the actual end stage, even though the result may vary, I will not discount one’s effort and artistic integrity. That being said, these are merely my opinions, and I really wanted to enjoy this, but to me I could not find the merits that are salvageable in order to be classed as memorable, but to you the listener, if your views differ from mine and this is an album you immensely enjoy, then support the artist, for I am glad that it has brought you some semblance of joy. - Metal Digest
Release Date: August 21, 2021
FFO: Abstracter, Petrification, Noose Rot
Silenced Minstrel (age 44 years, born Saiful Nizam Shukor, 28th March 1976) is a full time singer, songwriter musician from Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Been playing music since 1991 he co-founded HALUN, a gothic black metal band back in 1996, produced several demos, one EP and one LP before the badly deformed monstrosity was laid to rest in 2015. Writing and producing mostly in his bedroom studio nicknamed “Sky Panacea Enterprise” he spent the entire 2016 gathering writing and recording materials for his debut album “Volume 1” choosing to name it as such as to not make it sounds too rockstar-ish.
The sixth album “Volume 666” is an album that came out in August 2021 and is a continuation of the artist’s previous musical inclination, direction and concept but with an addition of a new band logo and a slightly different album cover art.
In 2020 he decided to release a compilation album from the first 3 albums entitled “An Ode To A Sickening Year”, containing nine remixed and partially re-recorded tracks plus a tenth bonus-track at the end of it. It was intended as an allusion to the volatile evolution of the band’s sound during the past five years and, granted, the artist may or may not reuse these musical elements again in the band’s future releases.
The fifth album “Volume 5” saw the further development of sound and direction from the previous album, adding also an orchestral style instrumental black metal song as the last track of the album, a song that hearkens back to his old days in HALUN.
The fourth album “Volume 4” saw him disposing of all the gothic melodic stuff and straight into just vocals guitars bass and drums, trying to go as dry and as harsh as he can, tackling on darker themes like deviant spirituality, Satanism, atheism, philosophy and dark fantasy. Fast tempo is the name of the game; the drums gained more prominence and absolutely no melodic stuff present on this album.
The third album “Volume 3” saw him moving ever closer towards a more melodic black metal sound than the old one, this time the long ditched MIDI orchestra element restored along with some double-layered bass guitar tracks and even gloomier atmosphere than before, reflecting the state of his mind, body, spirit and environment that he’s at during that period of time; with traces of anger, hatred, betrayal and vengeance gracing every song in the album (he fully recovered from his decade long clinical depression that same year).
The second album “Volume 2” saw some maturity in his songwriting, the MIDI orchestra part ditched altogether and it also saw a fair amount of rough edges deliberately highlighted in the mix, and a lot more gothic atmosphere throughout than before especially in the lyrics department, where he wrote songs about the occult, immortality, vampirism and forbidden love between the mortal and the damned, also some cryptic poetic inclinations thrown to the mix just for the heck of it.
“Volume 1” is a combination of melodic gothic stuff mixed with thrash, death and doom metal riffs and black metal atmosphere, utilizing the most basic of guitar effects, cheap keyboards/ synthesizers and MIDI orchestra throughout the entire album to produce something that he’d always wanted to do: anything that didn’t sound like his former band! The album is completed in September but it be long after the production of the second album was underway when that album graced the scene...
The artist is currently occupied promoting his new album, gathering materials for future albums and also working on his other band “Shadowed Grace” playing New Age Scifi Fantasy Instrumental Synthesizer music. Silenced Minstrel is unsigned and is looking for exposure, a recording contract and developing fanbases all across the globe.
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