Dismal Euphony


Autumn Leaves - The Rebellion Of Tides

Dismal Euphony - Autumn Leaves - The Rebellion Of Tides ©1997 Napalm Records
1. An Autumn Leaf In The Circles Of Time
2. Simply Dead
3. A Thousand Rivers
4. Mistress Tears
5. Carven
6. Spire
7. In Rememberance Of A Shroud
8. Splendid Horror

Also known as The Kitchen Sink Touring Band (because everything is in there, including the...oh, never mind), Dismal Euphony has been getting a lot of attention recently and their recorded output aptly demonstrates what all the hub-bub is about, Bub. Their trick is to take the elements so commonly used by other doom-death atmospheric metal band and use them under the flag of good songwriting. Strangely, that puts them way above the rest of the lot in their actual appeal. So, yes, you get a lot of keyboards, pianos, female vocals and orchestrated parts, but what Dismal Euphony does is make it very moving and powerful. Singer/bassist Ole Helgesen provides an Opeth styled black metal whisper-hiss (can I call it a "hissper", please?) that works well with the songs. There are some edgy female vocals that occasionally sound a just a bit unpolished, as if the woman hasn't really ever bothered to take proper singing lessons. It's a minor thing, but perhaps the only truly lacking part of the band. Meanwhile, aggression meets sweeping orchestration and moving songwriting throughout the album. Dismal Euphony pulled a nice rabbit out of their hat on Autumn Leaves and have earned a lot of playtime on my CD player as a result.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 07/1999

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All Little Devils

Dismal Euphony - All Little Devils ©1999 Nuclear Blast
1. Days Of Sodom
2. Rage Of Fire
3. Victory
4. All Little Devils
5. Lunatic
6. Psycho Path
7. Shine For Me, Misery
8. Scenario
9. Dead Words

Through no fault of their own, Dismal Euphony let me down ever so slightly on All Little Devils. However, that is simply because my first impression of the band on Autumn Leaves was one of amazement and total enjoyment. The unfortunate downfall to that is anything I hear from the band from that point on will have a rather lofty expectation to meet or exceed. From what I understand the band went through some lineup changes, replacing their former female vocalist with a new one. Her voice on this album is a bit childlike and occasionally not completely in sync with the music's needs. Overall there seems to be less of the black metal "hisspering" and more emphasis on standard metal symphonics. The keyboard and atmosphere heavy approach is not too far off from the standard list of similar or "on the same wavelength" bands like Theatre of Tragedy. Of course, anyone who has a female vocalist generally gets that sort of mention. I guess my biggest issue with All Little Devils is that none of the tracks quite stand out much. The album on a whole is good for having on while I busy myself with tasks around the house or harassing people in newsgroups, but it never grabs me by the shoulders, shouting, "Pay attention to me and be enthralled!" Enjoyable, yes. A pinnacle achievement for the band, no.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/1999


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Lady Ablaze

Dismal Euphony - Lady Ablaze ©2000 Napalm Records
1. Lady Ablaze
2. Abandon
3. Cabinet Bizarre
4. 150 MP/H
5. Bortgang

This short EP features some older Dismal Euphony being re-recorded with their new lineup. I can easily say with little doubt that unless you were a big fan of last year's All Little Devils, this is extraneous material that you can do without. The title track itself demonstrates perfectly my unease with their most recent output. The music just sort of wanders along in its rather basic metal mixed with keyboards as well as the mixture between male and female vocals. Unfortunately, Anja Natasha's vocals are horrendous and have a cringe factor of one hundred percent. Her wailings sound thin, childish and fully out of control. I'd even take wispy and breathy over this because she causes the listening experience to be downright uncomfortable. "Abandon" is a bit more energetic, but not very far off soundwise from the title track. And as expected, Anja's screeching brings the song down. The ambient guitar and sound effect ending track "Bortgang" is a bit more pleasant, but that's because no one let anyone near the microphone stand. Frankly, this band has slowly been showing signs that they are becoming less and less interesting. I strongly urge them to search around for a much more competent female vocalist if they feel they must have that sort of vocals. As it stands, Lady Ablaze is more a case of CD Ablaze after I set it on fire to burn away those awful vocals.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/2000

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Python Zero

Dismal Euphony - Python Zero ©2001 Nuclear Blast
1. Critical Mass
2. Python Zero
3. Zentinel
4. Magma
5. Birth Reverse
6. Needle
7. Plasma Pool
8. Fly In Eye

I'm quite ambivalent towards this release. Dismal Euphony originally impressed me with Autumn Leaves a couple summers ago, but every release since then has been a letdown and the band seems to be highlighting their weaknesses rather than their strengths. Last year's Lady Ablaze EP was dreadful, proving their lady vocals were atrocious. Fortunately, there has been some improvement as she no longer warbles like a seven year old girl belting out key show tunes to annoy her parents while on a vacation. But unfortunately, the band is showing scant few new tricks or ideas to harness a listener's attention. The album on a whole is your basic shouting male/singing female metal, midpaced and often simply mediocre. When the band hits on a melody that works or a passage that actually strikes a decent chord, they use it again in another song. Both "Magma" and "Birth Reverse" seem very dependent on the same songwriting techniques. But much of the material just floats by and anything deeper than a casual listen will point out very decisively that you could have spent your money much more wisely than this. Dismal Euphony seems as though they truly don't know how they are to proceed anymore. Python Zero ultimately becomes one of those filler albums for people who cannot get enough of a particular style, but also is one of those albums that illuminates the problems of a style that has become very rapidly saturated over the past few years.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 04/2001

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