Tenebris - _Catafalque / Comet_
(Bad Taste Entertainment, 2007)
by: Kostas Sarampalis (7.5 out of 10)
Sometimes a band does not have to be fantastic or super proficient technically or have the tightest arrangements to offer a bunch of nice songs. Sometimes it just has to be interesting and explore outside the box -- to dig beneath the surface of any genre and tickle the proverbial inspiration pixie.

Tenebris is a Polish band that has been in existence for over fifteen years, but always struggled with members and labels. _Catafalque / Comet_ is a compilation re-release of their last three EPs, which were released between '97 and '02. I have no information regarding their earlier two albums, or what they sounded like; but this compilation of ten songs is interesting enough to prompt me to look for them.

Tenebris characterise themselves as progressive death metal, and that is not far off. Jazzy elements, overall progressive attitude, death as well as clean vocals, weird time signatures, keyboards, pace variation -- all can be found in the course of the three EPs. Imagine a softer _Spheres_ from Pestilence, or a less (much less, admittedly) competent _Focus_ from Cynic. Add a bit of Ephel Duath jazziness and some space elements from Nocturnus, and there you have it. This is a bit too much name dropping, but _Catafalque / Comet_ is rather complicated and difficult to explain without any references.

Although the production values are not that great, with the sounds a bit less intimidating than they should be and the drums too far in the background, Tenebris do remind me of all the bands I mentioned. The clean vocals remind me of another band, but for the life of me I have unsuccessfully been trying to remember who for weeks now. The accent is unmistakably Polish, and although the harsh vocals need a lot of work, at least they are individual enough to accept them as that.

Some tracks stand out, especially the imaginative "An Alien Harvest", with its great solos and playful vocals, or the weird "The Comet". "Nefilim-Annunanki" has some great keyboards and strong guitar themes to kick off the album in a positive manner. Towards the end, the last couple of tracks are probably the oldest of the bunch, evident by the lower quality of the sound. All in all though, I did not find any filler; and despite the fact that the album loses momentum from time to time (understandable since it is really a collection of EPs) and the sound suffers from mediocre production, I enjoyed it throughout its course. It is not for everyone, and some elements are bound to annoy different listeners, but if you like your metal with a touch of adventure, I would certainly give it a spin if I were you.

Contact: http://www.tenebris.igk.pl

(article published 20/4/2007)


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