4 November 2015

Karls - Tenebris In Eden

I owe Karls an apology before I even start this review; way back in June I got a message on our Facebook page to check out Karls for a possible review, now I have always prided myself in at least checking out a band when I am sent something - this time the request got lost in the release.  Now I have no excuse because I like the request and I really should have kept my eye on the ball - so to Carlos Reyes Vergara, Mi dispiace molto.  Anyway on to the review and a little bit of background - Karls are the name which Carlos Reyes Vergara records under, he comes from Guayaquil & Bologna in Italy and has a love of metal.  With this being a solo metal project, I am curious as to how it turns out.  Black & Death Metal are genres which are currently in flux with the traditionalist screaming bloody murder on people who are trying to step out of the genres fixed dimensions, it is also something that either sounds really raw or it can be easy to over produce – we will have to see what 'Tenebris in Eden' is all about.  However, one word of warning when you head to the Soundcloud page – there is a lot of links to other acts which Mr Vergara has liked, so finding his own work took a little while.  It is a great list on there, it just made finding Karls music a bit taxing. Anyway, on with the review.

Starting off this album is “Peccatum Pupillam” which is heavy string synth sounds which are used to create a macabre start to the album, it is over in just over a minute or so and whilst it is not uncommon for this sort of introduction to black/death metal album it is still used to good effect.  Next is the title track “Tenebris in Eden” which is a combination of Strapping Young Lad, Emperor, Goblin and Dimmu Bogor, mixing those styles and having with no vocals (this is an instrumental project).  The Goblin reference is very important to this as is the Dimmu Bogor, as these are the main pivots which this song is based on.  When I first heard it, I was a little unsure about it as I kept awaiting the vocals to kick in; but once I realised it was an instrumental project, everything fell into place and it takes on a different shade.  “Ego Serpens Sum” is the third track which has an interesting beginning with a drum beat that sounds almost tribal, whilst in the same instance sounding a bit robotic.  The music is loud  and heavy which goes a bit Behemoth on you in places, once again there is a more than a passing hint to Dimmu Bogor in place and this song is a lot heavier that “Tenebris In Eden”.  It is good for what it is, a slice of instrumental Black Metal which attempts to have a sinister edge; but there is something missing to the sound and it does hurt it a little if I am honest.  The fourth track is called “Gates of Heaven” and once again it is a top heavy string synth opening, this time with white noise being introduced every now and then to the sound.  It then goes quiet for a few seconds until the guitar is introduced and is plucking away in a “Call to Cthulhu” type of way as the synths are swirling around – but it could have been more effective if it was a little shorter, you are awaiting the change which is inevitably going to arrive.  After the two minutes, ten second mark, the rest of the instruments are brought in and it goes for another metal vibe that sounds a lot more aggressive and harsh that the first section of the song.  It drifts into synth territory in the heavier sections every now and then and sometimes it is not always needed, there is also a section where the drums do not help the music and it takes away from the song, neither does the dysfunctional ending that will need to be looked into at some point.

“Gates of Hell” is the obvious twin to “Gates of Heaven” on this album, it have a focused start which gets straight into the action and all the instruments are working in harmony from the beginning.  The continues throughout the song as everything is kept very tight, apart from one section which is screaming for a second guitar near the beginning.  I do not know if it was the thought of Heaven that made “Gates of Heaven” so dysfunctional, but there is something of a polar opposite on this song and it does show where their allegiances are tied in the battle to come.  Because it is so focused and clinical (mostly – the drums are still not quite right), it is the track of the release.  The penultimate song is called “Dead Tree” which goes from Groove Metal to Death Metal and finally back to Groove Metal again; it is a good song that sounds as if it is an idea that is awaiting germination that will grow into something else, but it does only sound of potential and that it needs a little more time to become something else.  Ending the album is “Beginning (Infinite Tragedy)” which is another track that actually feels complete.  There is a dirty sound to this song that is missing for the vast majority of the album, apart from the drums but at this juncture you are used to that fact.  It mashes a lot of styles and riffs into this and it works, also if it was not for “Gates of Hell” it would have been the track of the album.

This release is something that will either have fans or people who do not get it, this style of music never really has people who could give or take it.  For what it is, I have enjoyed it but I have also heard better as well.  The tones are a little too clean which it should be dirty and the electronic drums would be better replaced by a live recording (if they are a live recording, then they sound as if they have been pro-tooled to within an inch of their lives).  “Gates of Heaven” needs work towards the end as it sounds too crazy as if it does not know what it wants to be, the fact that its musical twin “Gates of Hell” is more focused and handled correctly sort of shows that Karls can get it right. I think there is something better to come from Karls, there is a definite passion for the music and that passion (as well as his Soundcloud play list which I have been trawling for days – sir, you have a great choice in songs linked there) is highly commendable and will one day release something that will make me eat a huge chunk of humble pie – which I will gladly do on that day.  However, I do feel these songs are just a few production tweaks away from being really good, so sadly the marks are reflect this.  I will follow Karls with interest and next time I will review their work sooner.

6 out of ten – Now I see where you were going, but not quite there

Top track – Gates of Hell

You can follow the activities of Karls on Facebook here

You can visit the Karls Reverbnation page here

You can stream Tenebris in Eden on Soundcloud here

The album is not on Spotify, Deezer, Tidal or Bandcamp

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