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Silenced Minstrel – ‘Volume 666’

Independent Release
Abstracter, Petrification, Noose Rot
Release Date
August 21, 2021
Independent Release
Black Metal

I have always respected the works of Black Metal bands where the ship is commanded by one sole being, he who determines the destination, the one who hoists the sails…the one whose voyage is self-determined. For there is a certain mysticism involved in being the designer and creator all in one, as is much to be admired where one stares into the obsidian void, draws upon the energy and shapes the ink to their image they deem fit. Sometimes the result can be earnest where a part of the soul is imbued within the art, while other times, even though the mind holds a portrait to be birthed, the result that is pushed from the womb may not reflect that ideology.

This brings me to Silenced Minstrel’s ‘Volume 666’, in summary it is an album that shows much promising features, for I am certain on paper the architecture of this release seemed rather robust , but when transcribed to sound, it feels as though the vision that was once conceived, maybe was not fully formed.

Let’s address the positives, the instrumental portions where the tremolo picking is involved offers some creative variations, for at times they are neither static but rather fluid in the motions that are expelled, tracks such as ‘Of Twilight and Forgotten Ruins’ and ‘Lore of The Red Wind’ grants the listener short bursts of acoustic pieces that breaks up the frenetic riffing making these moments more discernable, but also savoring to the listener.

Where the production is concerned, ‘Volume 666’ is draped in a low-fi aesthetic that exudes a slick yet harsh icy tonality to its aura, and in my opinion, the album doesn’t completely utilizes this atmosphere to the best of its ability, for one can express a myriad of artistic ideas and emotions where a crude mix is concerned, for if used right it can be the very air that breathes life into the vessel that has been sculpted. ‘Faceless Pallbearers’ is a song which demonstrates this, again, the music structure is fairly well, but where the music and production should fuse and integrate into one another in order to foster a unified spirit, here it feels fragmented, where each variable exists on its own yet don’t seem to mix together like oil and water.

However one of the thorns that becomes quite jarring through my listening experience is the vocals, for it feels like an attempt to configure the vocal patterns to that of a standard harsh Black Metal register, but instead the delivery feels rather pale and flat in tone, at times it crumbles beneath the weight of the surrounding factors of the musical components. Where the vocals should be the titan that commands forth the elements or the pillars which strength holds the temple, here, it is obscured by the very atmosphere it should be thriving within.

Overall, I still have respect for someone who has seen their idea through the inception to the actual end stage, even though the result may vary, I will not discount one’s effort and artistic integrity. That being said, these are merely my opinions, and I really wanted to enjoy this, but to me I could not find the merits that are salvageable in order to be classed as memorable, but to you the listener, if your views differ from mine and this is an album you immensely enjoy, then support the artist, for I am glad that it has brought you some semblance of joy.

“an album that shows promising values and with much potential”

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