(All Album Reviews by jlneudorf)
From the grainy cover art depicting a suitably creepy image for a black metal band to the distorted, sometimes brutally intense riffage, fans of all things metal will be slamming their collective fists to Chapter I, the debut album from German metal band Ave Maria.
While a heavy album to be sure, it is also quite melodic, thanks to the guitar playing of A (his real name escapes me). The riffs soak into your body slowly but surely, grinding and occasionally pummeling the listener senseless. To go along with the music are well executed growling vocals which often depict disturbing scenes of utter mysteriousness. The lyrics are both cryptic and extremely detailed.
The album opens with the sinister sounding “The Trembling Eye” shimmering with stark guitar chords. The notes bend and twist in an almost languid way before spoken word vocals add to the creepiness. Clean guitar parts become doused with feedback and distorted chords offering a pretty cool contrast in styles before the song ends in a cacophonous buildup of intense sounds. The next four tracks are similar in scope; all evil growls and heavy riffs while still maintaining some strong melodies.
In “With Words Like Ecstasy” there is a post rock feel, particularly in the clean guitar, before the slow churning riffs crash and burn. More cleaner guitar tones can be found in “Tongues” with the vocals somewhat similar to The Sisters of Mercy. The album ends with the ramped up intensity of “Meandering Through The Tunnel Of Trance” showcasing just how heavy this band can get.
Chapter I is a very good slice of melodic black metal that should satisfy your need for more adventurous music.