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SEAR BLISS
SEAR BLISS
Forsaken Symphony
(Vic Records)
63:13min

Restless seems to be the perfect adjective for the Vic Records crew. After the successful re-release of the whole ARKONA discography they've now fully focused on one of the best Hungarian bands - SEAR BLISS. I'm not sure why they start with the 2002 release "Forsaken Symphony" instead of the 1996 debut "Phantoms" but this seems so unimportant if it comes to the musical quality of this release. The Hungarian band deserves for sure an exotic bonus due to the fact that they fully integrated a trombone into their majestic Black Metal hymns. Over the years I've nearly lost any interest in the Symphonic Black Metal sector because not a single band was in any way interested in avoiding the DIMMU BORGIR paths and everybody sounded like the dark castle from Norway (it seems that earning money was more important than musical independence!). But SEAR BLISS are different and the trombone is only one reason why this album is so special. The layout of the album has been slightly improved but the (re-mastered) perfect sound is giving the great keyboard parts enough room to breath without killing all other instruments. And this simple fact is making the difference - songs like the 10 minutes monument 'The Vanishing' with a perfect keyboard melody supported by the trombone are on one hand really aggressive but SEAR BLISS are easily keeping the balance. This album never had the chance to reach a wider audience - major reason was Red Stream's bad European distribution - and I really hope that within this year everybody will connect the word "Majestic Black Metal" with this release because "Forsaken Symphony" is without a doubt one of the best re-releases of the last months. If you don't believe my words just listen to 'Eternal Battlefields' and all doubts will be gone. www.searbliss.hu, www.vicrecords.com

Matthias Auch

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SEAR BLISS
SEAR BLISS
Forsaken Symphony
(Red Stream Records)
63:26min

Well, this is quite a lot of music for the money and although I was never much into this kind of atmospheric Black Metal, I have to say honestly, that SEAR BLISS' new album is pretty good for this kind of art. It is far, far, far away from gay bands like CRADLE OF FILTH or HOMO BORGIR!!! I would describe SEAR BLISS' "Forsaken Symphony" as a mixture of raw, epic Black Metal that even can be compared with JUDAS ISCARIOT's "Heaven In Flames" and ethereal, complex synth arrangements, that are spiced up with real trombone / barytone parts. It is definitely nothing for the "ultra-true", but it deserves attention, because it is not such commercial shit, but music that certainly comes from the heart. Andras Nagy's vocals are very grim and often sound like the Norwegian Black Metal legends, when they were still good (check out the great 'The Hour Of Burning', he sounds like Abbath of IMMORTAL), the guitars sound raw and traditional and the synth stuff is not cheap and shitty, but very professional and aimed arranged. Only the coverartwork by Kris Verwimp is not very beautiful, it shows a burning witch, who has big tits and some flying ravens over head (the latter suggest a connection to the old SEAR BLISS releases), but it does not ruin anything. So if you are interested in Black / Dark Metal, that respects its roots and risks to go beyond the boundaries of its traditional style you should be extremely happy with this "Forsaken Symphony" by Hungarian SEAR BLISS. Highlights are according to me 'My Journey To The Stars' and 'When Death Comes', as well as 'The Hour Of Burning' which I mentioned above. The band's Website: www.searbliss.hu The label's website: www.redstream.org

Stefan Franke

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