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What’s the deal with the dramatic side of doom/death metal and pretentious album titles? I’ve stumbled upon Desire’s Infinity… A Timeless Journey Through an Emotional Dream and Love History’s The Astral Silence of Blooming Virgin Beauty and here we have yet another example of something that sounds pretty pretentious. Fortunately, Romantic Beatitude of Faded Dawn is far from a letdown on a musical level and that’s all that matters, doesn’t it? It may be on the lighter side of doom/death metal that hardly portrays any shades to cover the sun with, but if you’re familiar with some of the bigger names from this era and yearn something comparable, then you’ve just come to the right address.
Finding an ideal balance between heaviness and tenderness, As Divine Grace has plenty of surprises in store. You could certainly argue that they serve as a summary of what other doom/death metal bands had released just a few years earlier, but that’s certainly no issue for me. The band’s heaviest riffs crush with the same gloomy delivery that you could expect from Shades of God and Clouds and yet, these songs don’t sound as retro as the former, neither do they get too close to the distinctive drug-fueled doom of the latter. At the same time, plenty of leads occasionally function as riffs and sweep these tunes into the next section with elegance; often backed up by a thick doze of foggy keys for optimal effects. ‘Secret Winds’ makes an excellent example; with an evil riff opening that Johan Edlund could have written before his gothic phase, it’s a solid slab of a tune that definitely owes parts of it success to Tiamat, yet there’s much more to it. Whereas its verses have a hazy flavor to it, the track moves further into an early (read: ballsy) gothic territory with a rousing chorus and lively guitar leads that should please any fan of early Paradise Lost and Cemetary.
Given that the listening experience feels more like a pleasant dream than a horrific nightmare, Romantic Beatitude of Faded Dawn will most likely appeal more to the fan of atmospheric doom/death metal, but don’t let that description scare you off. While there is no shortage of thick keys and alluring cleaner sections to break things up with, the guitars deliver plenty of memorable riffs that keep you hooked. ‘Garden of Tears’ is easily one of my favorites of the bunch; with a mammoth-stomp of a riff introducing itself between the calming landscapes, it easily rivals the doom approach Paradise Lost went for circa Shades of God in terms of heaviness. Indeed, from a stylistic perspective, you could argue that Romantic Beatitude of Faded Dawn sound like a product of its time, yet it doesn’t sound dated. We’re not dealing with any prominent spoken passages or baritone croons that nod towards gothic rock. Albeit one dimensional in their delivery, the guttural howls fit glove and bring to mind the same sentimental roars of Jonas Renkse circa Rain Without End.
In general, EP’s remain fairly consistent on a stylistic level and Romantic Beatitude of Faded Dawn is no exception. However, I should point out that one track isn’t exactly on par with the rest and that’s ‘Heartless, Lorn Pains’. Partially serving as a reminder of post-death metal Amorphis, it exposes itself with some sugary and upbeat guitar leads and while I can appreciate some sweetness here and there, this track almost becomes too much to bear. Even if things take a turn for the best with some hammering riff-passages in between, this is the least enjoyable tune on Romantic Beatitude of Faded Dawn.
As time went on, As Divine Grace would unfortunately abandon this sound and I think that’s a shame, because Romantic Beatitude of Faded Dawn suits my doom/death metal needs and I’m sure it will suit yours, too. Besides, who couldn’t use yet another gloomy soundtrack now that summer is over?
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