HOLLENTHON - Opus Magnum

Hollenthon - Opus Magnum

8 songs
46:19 minutes
***** ****


Austrian symphonic black metal band Hollenthon released two albums in 1999 and 2001 before taking a longer break, to come back unexpectedly in 2008 with their third record Opus Magnum. They are signed to Napalm Records who must have noticed in the meantime that their national metal scene has spawned a few quite good bands.

Even if symphonic black metal is that basis of Hollenthon’s music, there is much more to it, making it not easy to describe their sound. Extreme would be a fitting, although still rather vague expression. Originally and full of innovation, Hollenthon are epic, martial, symphonic, gloomy, folky and dramatic, just to use a few adjectives. Although sometimes the switching from one mood to another within a song seems a bit overdone, no two songs can claim to sound the same, which is good news for those who like variety on an album. While the monumental opener On The Wings Of A Dove overwhelms with fantastic choirs, the rawness of Son Of Perdition, slightly reminding of Venom, comes as an interesting counterpoint. The confusing and progressive Of Splendid Worlds, with added piano, is another highlight. Orchestral parts and monk chants are a few more surprises you will meet on your journey through this phenomenal comeback album.

Opus Magnum is not an album you can listen to on the side. Every time I spend time with it, new elements stand out, making me wonder how much more often it takes until I have discovered every little detail. The strong production helps to make this one of the best releases I have come across in the last months.

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