Scholomance

Picture of Scholomance

A Treatise On Love

Scholomance - A Treatise On Love ©1998 The End Records
1. The Liars And Those Who Would See Their Blood
2. End
3. The Psychology Of Demons And The Bitterness Of Winter
4. Toy: A Primrose Path To The Second Circle
5. Snowfall: A Serenade For Aurora The Unearthly Angel Of Dawn
6. I Am That Wich Is
7. What Was Truth
8. A Pride Of The Serpent Winds
9. Exotica Sequence

Scholomance are going to overwhelm you with their technical ability and they make no bones about it, both in their bio and their CD. Standing on twin peaks of black metal influence and old school over-the-top metal hijinks, this group of musicians actually succeed in creating a very intricate and dominating style. These boys know their musical scales--and then some--as the songs are all filled with blistering and perplexing solos, both on keyboards and guitars. Usually I'm not the biggest fan of wild solos, but Scholomance has the ability to actually craft them into the songs in a coherent and satisfying manner. Yes, they're flexing their talent but they do it with style. Another notable point: the keyboards do not play a minor role or weaken the music one iota. Instead, they are just as aggressive as the guitars and vocals (for example, the piano parts in "End" make the song entirely too enjoyable). The instrumental track "Snowfall..." is truly top caliber. Some may have quibbles with the use of a drum machine (probably the band hasn't been able to secure a drummer with the talent required), but as with other bands who have utilized them well--namely Samael--they are used intelligently throughout. A demanding and challenging listen, Scholomance shows remarkable ability and well worth the time spent playing the CD.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 11/1998

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The Immortality Murder

Scholomance - The Immortality Murder ©2002 The End Records
CD one:
1. Part I: Absence/Contorted Porcelain-Faced Bitch
2. Part II: Childless One.../The Body As Sulphur Stench
3. Part III: Matriarch
4. Part IV: Her Inquity Uncovered/The Eastern Trinity Unexplained
5. Virus (the Theft Of Knowledge)
6. Companionship And Philosophical Fire (the Third)
7. Bedevilment And Bewilderment (Reality Greets The Moral Whore)
8. The Next Step (For The Sake Of The Greater Whole)
CD two:
1. Replacement...
2. The Next Step (For The Sake Of The Greater Whole)
3. Nothing Is For, Or About You
4. Part I: Absence/Contorted Porcelain-Faced Bitch
5. As If I Were Beautiful...
6. Part II: Childless One.../The Body As Sulphur Stench
7. And Yet We Were Dead...8. Part III: Matriarch
8. Part III: Matriarch
9. How Familiar I Am
10. A Riddle...
11. Part IV: Her Inquity Uncovered/The Eastern Trinity Unexplained
12. Additions

The Immortality Murder, progressive dark metal outfit Scholomance's second full-length record, is a very ambitious concept album dealing with what appear to be deep biblical and philosophical issues. Their musical style is reminiscent of Death, Depressive Age and black metal (for the vocals), Samael (for the cold metal sound), Dream Theater (for the long-winded compositions), and recent Arcturus (for the keyboard-laden instrumental sections, especially in "Part III").

The songs are fast, long and convoluted, but the riffs flow relatively smoothly; however, they also direly lack individuality and melody and are almost impossible to tell apart, even after several attentive listens. The musicians are clearly proficient at their instruments, but they tend to constantly overplay without listening to each other, and most of the instrumentation is a busy mess of inopportune bass fills, guitar and piano arpeggios and keyboard lines, capped by rather unpleasant and tedious vocal growls. The guitar leads are often gratuitously dissonant and off-key, as if the guitarist had taken the time to figure out what music theory suggests and decided to do the exact opposite most of the time as a matter of principle (the solo in "Bedevilment" at 2:15 is a prime example). When tastefully executed, unorthodox note choices can be sublime (see Chris Poland, Allan Holdsworth, and John McLaughlin); in this case, however, the result is an invariably jarring and painful listen. The entire band shows no sign of restraint, and more often than not the album comes across as a deluge of super-fast arpeggios with jerky vibrato.

The bonus disc is an all-instrumental version of the album's songs, designed to spare the delicate ears of progressive metal fans (as stated in the liner notes). The absence of vocals does make them more easily digestible, but they eventually all blend into an undifferentiated jumble of riffs and arpeggios, which the improvised piano interludes barely manage to break. Keith Jarrett this keyboardist clearly ain't, and these improvised pieces are generally pointless and even embarrassing at times.

The production is good, albeit not brilliant, with a relatively thin guitar sound and flat electronic drums, and leaves in a couple of glitches that should have been ironed out (like an out-of-tune clean guitar at the end of "Part I:...").

All in all, "The Immortality Murder" is a flawlessly executed but boring, pretentious and ultimately pointless album, and I can't for the life of me imagine why anyone would want to sit through it in its entirety.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 12/2001

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