Black Crucifixion - Faustian Dream - 2006 - Paragon Records
1. Faustian Dream 2. As Black as the Roses (as Weak as My Smile) 3. Bible Black Tyrant 4. Wrath Without Hate 5. Where Will You Hide 6. Winterkill 7. Scandinavian Melancholy 8. Frailest 9. Faustian Scream
Few things today as are as disconcerting for the passionate music fan as the fallibility of our idols. The music of our time helps shape our experiences and define our generation, and we would like to think of it as a protected zeitgeist rather than a commercial endeavor (which if unfortunately happens to be). Similarly, we are ever wary of the musicians themselves ‘selling out’ or compromising their integrity with some embarrassing scandal or sub-par new record. They are, after all, merely humans, as are we all, and though they may embody a transcendent ideal for a time there is almost invariably the slow decline into mediocrity or disfavor. Perhaps this is why all the seemingly best artists are dead.
Black Crucifixion were part of the black metal movement of the early 90’s, contributing to the old-fashioned, underground majesty that made those years so iconic. But between 1997 and 2006, something happened. Perhaps their black metal flame burnt out, perhaps they became disillusioned with the scene, perhaps their rent went up—whatever the case, ‘Faustian Dream’, which was begun nearly a decade ago, marks a complete departure from their previous material.
More than that, it marks their downfall. Whatever laurels and elite status they might have enjoyed from of those old demos has been soundly dismantled on ‘Faustian Dream’, which is so overwrought with gothic melodrama it is almost comedic. Either Black Crucifixion are playing a fantastic joke on the metal community or they have honestly lost their musical talent entirely. In an attempt to sound more ‘mature’, they have succeeded only in revealing their juvenility—lyrically and musically.
Although the transparent and childish melodies could have damned ‘Faustian Dream’ soundly enough on their own, the vocal effort is what does it in. Forn, (previously Fornicator) sounds as though he is attempting to emulate the legendary Gothic acts such as Sentenced, Tiamat, etc., but instead produces only a whimpering moan. Faintly comparable to Tom G. Warrior, but without any of the anger, power, passion, or determination. Lifeless and affected, in other words.
To produce this and call it metal is completely unacceptable. Some stylistic allowances are made for the genre of Gothic Metal, but Black Crucifixion have failed to meet any and all expectations. Any so unlucky to come across ‘Faustian Dream’ will wish it were only that—a flicker of REM gone with the daylight. But alas, it remains, uncomfortably conspicuous in the depressing landscape of shamed heroes and fallen idols.
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