Here is one confused and confusing EP. This is the kind of record where a wild bunch of different ideas are all thrown one after the other and it’s hard to tell what I think of this, because it’s hard to tell what’s going on.
The title and cover could initially make you think that this was a black metal or gothic metal record, or maybe some strange mix of the two that could be called dark metal. And the first track starts with threatening and heavy riffs that could indeed be found on a dark metal album, before the weird whispers of “dear dark, dear dark” start, followed by a power metal high note, after which the song turns into a heavy/power metal song, with shrill high notes and ends on a lower, almost melismatic note, and then a lower whisper of “dear dark” again. Only long descriptions like that can do this EP justice.
The rest mostly follows the same power metal pattern, with the same shrill high notes, done in a completely over the top style. I think those in This Burning Evil are even screechier and overwrought than on the title track. So shrill and overwrought that there is something really goofy about it.
The last three tracks are quite different from the first two, but equally strange. There is a nice instrumental called Thirty Four Strings of Fury, done in a nice power metal with a darker edge style, and then the beautiful mess of Magic Wand (Abracadabra). This one starts with an evil laugh and a strange music box sound, then has the same overwrought vocal performance with high notes and strange vocalizations on the chorus. And some clapping at the end because it was apparently recorded live? Then someone makes weird sounds on a synthetizer. The last track, Milan’s Dream is not as overwrought as the rest, being a quiet acoustic number sang in unison by the lead male vocalist and a female vocalist. It’s a nice, soothing number, but it’s short and more of an outro than a proper track.
So could this EP be considered so bad it’s good, like those albums by Metal Enterprise I used to review on the Metal Archives? Well, it does have some characteristics found in so bad it’s good works, like some outright ridiculous parts that we’re supposed to take seriously, some really bizarre ideas and a certain air of throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. The big flaws of this EP are its strange, often ridiculous vocal performance, and its tendencies to not really know what it’s doing, its confusing mix of strange ideas.
That said, I don’t think it can really be compared to some of the so bad it’s good albums I’ve heard, because it was clearly done with more professionalism and more skills. I also don’t really consider this all that bad, because it’s far from unpleasant to listen to. If you’re looking for power metal with a darker edge, it’s perfectly serviceable, and I’d say it actually does the darker edge better than some other similar records I’ve heard. There is something very mysterious about this EP that makes you want to hear more.
Of course, this EP is flawed despite having some good things going for it. I’m not sure I want to listen to a full album with that voice, and if someone who’s less tolerant of cheesy power metal than me would be able to take this EP even remotely seriously. But it’s more of a pretty decent but imperfect record than an outright horrible one. Also, unlike other mediocre or decent but not that great albums I’ve already reviewed, it’s not bad in a bland and half-assed way. Instead, it’s strange, unlike everything you’ll ever hear, and it’s not something you’ll ever forget. Check this one out if you’re curious, because it’s an imperfect but definitely memorable experience.
Release date: February 9th, 2021
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