|©1996 Supernal Music
1. Tenebrious Arcadian Dream
2. The Fnead
3. Oeillades Into Paenumbral Mirth
4. Wood Nymph Of Summer Twilight
5. Caliginous Romantic Myth
Behold what could very well be the worst black metal album in existence! Benighted Leams is just about as bad as one might expect from such a name for a project. And to no one's surprise, this is also a one man outfit. No matter what the story behind Benighted Leams with its Old English slant, this band and its first album are utterly wretched.
So when one comes across an album this bad, where does one begin to describe its horrendous music? I suppose we could start with the production. Black metal has never aspired to have polished music, outside of the professional acts like Dimmu Borgir. However, Caliginous Romantic Myth is sonically squashed and flatter than most of Illinois. It's like listening to an album with your head inside a small washtub, filled with soapy water. The guitar playing is reminscent of someone trying to imitate Abigor, Burzum and Kiss anthems all at once. Unfortunately, the creativity of the guitarist is fairly limited and he spends a lot of time either noodling around or wailing away in muck. The rare times he comes up with a somewhat triumphant sounding riff, he immediately buries it under other forms of mediocrity, such as his "singing". More on that in a bit. Sadly, his handful of anthemic, triumphant sounding riffs are all quite similar so one assumes he only can pull off a few riffs. Worse yet, the arrangements of the songs are just slapdash and hardly do anything to create a sense of movement. It's more like, "Well, I got this triumphant riff and this fast section so I think I'll just jam them together!" Finally, we have the vocals. Where does one begin? The harsh, troll vocals are relatively standard black metal, but what passes for clean singing is by far the worst thing I've heard in this subgenre. The guy has no control, no sense of pitch, how to project his voice or tone whatsoever. Rather, you hear this unbelievably silly low voice here and there that completely turns the already lame songs into a laughfest. I'm a bad singer, but at least I know better than to record it. Worst of all, one gets the feeling this guy seriously thinks he's adding to the "mood" of the songs with these terrible clean vocals.
The problem with a one man band like this is that there is no one there to tell him, "You know, that really isn't very good." Rather, during the recording process, one can picture him going, "Oh yeah, that's so killer, dude" to his stuffed animal collection. Caliginous Romantic Myth obviously was released by a record label so desperate for underground acts that they snapped up the first demo that they came across - or the label is owned by Benighted Leams, in which case more slapping around needs to be done. This is by far one of the most unbearably bad albums I've ever heard and if I was the one responsible for it, I'd hang my head in eternal shame. This goes beyond parody and right into the trash.
Review by John Chedsey
Review date: 07/2003