Artist: The Archivist
Album Title: As the Owls Watch Below
Label: Vanguard Assault
This is the second demo from The Archivist, an Australian band playing black metal.
The production on this demo is quite thin; the acoustic guitars seem to have much more oomph than the electric ones do! The drums are right up front, with the snarled vocals just beneath them, which gives the guitars an even more distant sound. I think a different mix, with the guitars up-front and with a bit more low-end, might improve this a lot.
In terms of songwriting, this is raw black metal with a good dose of melodicism. The rhythm guitar patterns are simple and primitive, yet more complex and memorable instrumentals are always at work; the acoustic guitar is especially nice. A few tasteful nature samples are used here and there, as in "Noctilent Dreaming". The drumming and guitar work is uneven throughout, which I personally find a bit charming; it gives this demo an early-Graveland feel. Sometimes it doesn't quite succeed -- as in the middle section of "The Vagarious Whimsical Fae", which is too over-the-top for me -- but for the most part, I like what The Archivist is doing. The early-Genesis progressive acoustic/electric part near the end of "The Escape, The Embrace" is especially convincing.
This is a decent second demo. The combination of the raw black metal style with more melodic solo instrumentation is a creative and listenable juxtaposition, and the vocals are solid. With a little more work on the instrumentation and songwriting, this could be pretty good.
Standout Tracks: "Noctilent Dreaming", "The Escape, The Embrace"