Take a good hard look at your music collection. Go on, I’ll wait. Do you have a lot of black metal in your CD, vinyl, cassette1, or MP3 stash? If not, ignore what I’m about to say, but if you do… how much of it is of the variety that Euronymous would shit his leather trousers for? There’s a good chance that there’s not much of it because, let’s face it, black metal has become such a gimongous umbrella that anything that may have hyper-blasts, tremolo riffing, and a production that cranks the high-end up would fall into this category. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but you gotta admit that it’s super-saturated by now. Siberia’s Eoront fall into this nebulous descriptor nicely, combining black metal ferocity with Tiamat-ish dreaminess with their second album, Another Realm.
When the formula works, Another Realm convinces you with their charm. “Two Worlds” blasts forth with some anthemic riffing by vocalist Foltath Eternum and phenomenal fills and flourishes by drummer Ephemiral Gorth. But it’s the dreamy, almost happy melodies by keyboardist Valea that stand out the most. Her melodies elevate what would normally be a run-of-the-mill black metal tune into a work of beauty. Elsewhere, “The Glow” radiates with a shimmery opening, slowly guiding you to the song’s blackened middle before easing you back into slumber. Another Realm shines in this aspect, as every song has about three-to-four minutes of solid, entrancing music within them.
That’s all fine and dandy until you realize that every song also reaches into the seven-to-ten minute range, and all becomes unwell in Dreamland. Opener “The Rain” takes a good three and a half minutes to get itself going, and the payoff, while not bad, doesn’t exactly justify the time required to get there. A nifty guitar melody in the middle of “The Sea” loses its niftiness when it’s beaten to within an inch of its life for almost half the song, no matter how much awesome double-bass drumming or airy keyboards you drown in it. The biggest offender lies with “Dreamcatcher.” While pleasant, it doesn’t really go anywhere of note and it drags on for over ten minutes.
Not helping matters is the muffled production. Valea’s keyboards take precedence over the majority of the instruments, but when she’s not applying some magical melodies, she relies on long chords and simple patterns. Eternum’s guitars and Gorth’s drums took the biggest hit, with the former feeling drowned out by the keyboards and Eugene’s distorted bass, and the latter’s kit sounding muffled, especially in the cymbal work. Combine this with songs that don’t know when to quit, and you have a recipe for a painfully long listening ordeal that could have been great.
But I refuse to give up hope on Eoront. With a better mix and some tighter song structures, they could definitely lead the pack in the same atmospheric black metal arena that Emperor and Opeth left behind. As it stands, though, try before you commit. Dreamy, but frustrating.