F U L L . R E V I E W S

Where Hatred Dwells & Darkness Reigns
Type: CD
Company: Non Serviam
Release: 2017
Genre: Heavy/Extreme
Reviewer: Greg Watson
Published: 9/8/2017
A truly immersive symphonic metal experience
Zornheym's debut album 'Where Hatred Dwells & Darkness Reigns' is a tour de force of extreme metal and symphonic elements melded together. Comprised of current and former members of bands such as Dark Funeral and Diabolical to name a few, the band is also joined by their own choral ensemble called the "Chorus Tenebris" and Dies Iona Ensembly to really pull the sound and atmosphere together. The ambitious nature of this project is something that could either hurt or help the band depending on the end result of this final product and I have to say that what the band has delivered here with 'Where Hatred Dwells' is nothing short of spectacular.

You get some really incredible musical contrasts with the aggressive black and death metal that the band plays along with some really elegant orchestral pieces. The vocals are really cool as well because they are a mixture of black, death, and clean vocals with the choral backing adding an element of elegance and suspense. What really sets this album apart however is the subject of the album and the supplementary pieces that go along with it. The album explores the residents at Zornheym: Asylum for the Criminally Insane and some of its residents. The backstory provided in the insert is incredibly well-thought-out and full of information that goes along with each patient examined in the various tracks that comprise the album. There is also apparently an accompanying graphic novel that comes when you purchase the album that provides further depth and context to the story.

The story aside, Zornheym really pulls off the symphonic metal in a way that allows each element to work independently of one another as well as a cohesive musical unit. The guitars have a nasty, punchy quality to them at times but then become more mellow and subtle when required. The drumming varies between frenetic blast beats and well measured rhythm to help add to the direction of the song. The bass and keyboards are featured as more of a complement to the drums, guitars and orchestration but are featured solely at various points throughout the album. Not to be forgotten, producer Sverker Widgren has done a phenomenal job of producing this ambitious undertaking and having all the pieces involved fit together and bring the puzzle together. He has achieved this and really done a terrific job of allowing the story to come through the music as well as the lyrics.

One thing to keep in mind with the album is that it's not one that you will be able to just breeze through and pick up every little detail and nuance that the band have put into each and every track. You will need to spend some time with this one to truly appreciate the scope of what 'Where Hatred Dwells' has to offer. And it's not hard to do that with the quality of the album itself and the vast array of materials provided to facilitate this. I am thoroughly impressed with what Zornheym has offered and truly hope that the doors to the Asylum are still open and will continue to provide further fodder for more albums to come. If you are looking for something to really sink your teeth into and don't mind spending some time with an album, look no further and prepare to go Where Hatred Dwells & Darkness Reigns!
About this Writer:
Greg Watson // Greg Watson has been hooked on the loud and heavy sounds since the summer of 1994 when he first heard the opening notes of "Operation: Mindcrime" by Queensryche. Since then his tastes have expanded and grown like the ever evolving heavy metal tree of genres. He has been an active member of Maximum Metal off and on for 10 years. In his spare time, Greg enjoys deciding the fate of his loyal subjects in the realm of Skyrim and secretly playing air keyboard to "Separate Ways" by Journey when no one is watching. He currently resides in Roanoke, VA with his wife and his metal wannabe beagle.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.

Where Hatred Dwells & Darkness ReignsZornheym
Greg Watson9/8/2017


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