Semblant – Obscura
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 06/03/2020
Running Time: 48:44
Review by Victor Augusto
Before I start my review, I must apologize to fans of Gothic Metal if I make any mistakes during this review. I must confess that I had no idea what kind of music Semblant played when I picked this album for listening. I didn’t even realize they were Brazilian. I don’t want you to think I had a bad impression of this album, it’s just a matter of talking about a genre that I am not so familiar with. However, let me cut my smooth talk and continue to what really matters, the band’s third full-length album “Obscura”.
Semblant are not a new band, they have been together for almost 15 years. When I heard this album for the first time, I got the impression that this was an experienced band that knows exactly what they are doing, and I was correct. Considering that I’m not a follower of Gothic/Dark Metal, I will try to express my feelings as an ordinary listener.
Here is something inspired by the great Swedish Melodic Death metal bands from the nineties, but not so melancholic in style. The guitar work is excellent, but it explores riffs and solos in a more simplistic way, as you can hear in the track ‘Barely Breathing’, always having the bass to support the heaviness. The impression I get is that the keyboards of J. Augusto are a bit hidden in the music and it surprises me because, when I hear the term Gothic Metal, intense and loud keyboards are the first thing that come to my mind. Drummer Welyntom Sikora follows the rhythmical guitars and strongly explores double kicks throughout the album, but without many cadence changes.
I won’t say that the vocals are the highlight, but it feels, to me, that the compositions are built using them and the final mix sees both singers ahead of the other instruments, except the drums. The vocals consist of the powerful female voice of Mizuho Lin and the guttural male voice of Sergio Mazul. Mizuho explores her high range with great melody while Sergio uses different kinds of screams, but they complement each other excellently. Both have the perfect amount of time to use their voices. As I said before, my impression is that the creation of the music was built entirely around their voices.
The album has basically the same structure throughout with the duets of vocals, double kicks, fast guitars and bass, but there are a few segments which differ, for instance, on the track ‘Wallachia’ that uses a more operatic approach vocally and slightly Black Metal arrangements within the riffs, the ballad ‘Daydream Tragedy’ which surprised me with clean male vocals and slow cadence followed by guitars without distortion, while the opera style vocals return on final track ‘Insomnia’ where a few solos are reminiscent of Tom Morello in style.
Dark and Gothic Metal are styles far beyond my knowledge, but thinking impartially, Semblant come across as a professional and very consistent band that know exactly what they want from their music. They are Heavy, direct and don’t tire you with complex arrangements. This probably explains why “Obscura is such a good album and Semblant have conquered legions of fans around the world during their career.
01. Murder Of Crows
02. Left Behind
03. Dethrone The Gods, Control The Masters (Legacy Of Blood Pt. IV)
04. Mere Shadow
06. The Hunter, The Hunger (Legacy Of Blood Pt. V)
08. Barely Breathing
10. Daydream Tragedy
11. Insomnia (Bonus Track)
J. Augusto – Keyboards
Sergio Mazul – Vocals (male)
Mizuho Lin – Vocals (female)
Juliano Ribeiro – Guitars
Welyntom “Thor” Sikora – Drums
Johann Piper – Bass
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