Misteltein - _Divine. Desecrate. Complete_
(No Fashion, 2001)
by: David Rocher (8.5 out of 10)
Wariness is usually a commendable virtue when approaching symphonic black metal releases nowadays -- the trademark "Cradle of Borgir" tones which have flooded the extreme metal milieu have alas done little to maintain decent originality and quality standards within this genre. Misteletein's 2000 debut release, _Rape in Rapture_, despite suffering from a striking lack of originality, somehow stood out amidst the corpse-painted mass of symphonic releases, owing to the diffuse, yet very tangible, mean twist which these Swedes so successfully mesh into each of their tracks. In fact, this distinctive bite actually managed to get my attention off the asinine paramusical black metal gimmicks which Misteltein tend to indulge in -- conceited names, bad corpsepaint and disputably evil attitudes. Although this feature has sadly not changed with _Divine. Desecrate. Complete_, Misteltein's addictive, envenomed sting has grown far more conspicuous with this release; _D.D.D_ is a mean, aggressive synthetic-laden blackened release, which cleverly doesn't rely on being merely "symphonic" -- just as the haunting siren-like keys on the baleful opener "Thy Kingdom Cum" testify to. In fact, Misteletein's use of keyboards is quite remarkable -- adding a clever touch of atmosphere at times, gracing a forlorn melody with touching beauty at others, "Orchestral Demonsummoner" Hel also cleverly enhances this blasphemous outfit's music with a truly unhallowed, disturbing touch. Obviously, inevitable Dimmu Borgir influences shine through and through at times, but the shape-shifting rhythmic section, backed up by the impressive drummer (sorry, I meant "Necropulser") Karagat brilliantly lashes out with aggressive, roaring and nonetheless at times truly canorous melodies inspired by a variety of styles and emotions -- whether "standard" black metal segues, Morbid Angel-influenced heaviness or typically Scandinavian aggression. Recorded in the famed Berno studios (early Crown of Thorns may be an apt reference here), this harsh, varied release should, I hope, help shed some (black) light on a deserving, somewhat different "symphonic" black metal outfit, amidst a genre which is sadly monopolised by Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir.

[Paul Schwarz: "Though they bear stylistic comparison to Dimmu Borgir & Cradle of Filth, Misteltein have, describing it crudely, a more "underground" overall sound. _D.D.C_ does not lack pleasingly biting, brutal, atmospheric and even curiously jagged passages -- though it does lack vibrancy. Leaving aside the 'we are total evil'-type presentation, _D.D.C_ is good album though its stylistic manner is better represented by Dornenreich's _Her Von Welken Nachten_, in my opinion."]

(article published 12/4/2002)


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