The Grim Muse is the name of the third album by Poland’s In Twilight’s Embrace. It’s due for a September 15 release by Arachnophobia Records in this, the band’s tenth year of existence. Two excellent songs from the album have premiered so far (one featuring guest vocals by At the Gates’ Tomas Lindberg), but we have the pleasure of bringing you a stream of the entire album.
“Melodic death metal” may be the closest simple genre description for this music, but it’s also one that would be misleading to a lot of listeners, in part because there is considerable variety among the album’s 11 tracks and in part because the record’s overall atmosphere, like its name, is grim — and vicious. If we’re going to use that genre term, let’s at least call it Melodic DEATH Metal.
photo by Erik Witsoe
Much of the persistent savagery that runs through the entire album, despite the variations in style among the songs, is attributable to Cyprian Łakomy’s voice, which is an inflamed, panther-like howl, ravenous and hair-raising at all times.
But that’s only one factor (though a critical one) in this band’s equation. The album is also loaded with fantastic riffs, the kind that stamp each song with its own identity and that come back to you like old friends when you run through the songs again. And the lead-guitar melodies and solos are tremendously self-assured and vivid.
In fact, the whole album is obviously the work of mature songwriters and performers. It takes that kind of top-shelf skill to work in a genre that has been beaten to death and raise it up again in glory.
I mentioned the album’s significant variety. It varies from the unmitigated, black-metal influenced ferocity of “A Wolf I Remain”, to the ripping thrash of “Der Hellseher (I Have A Dream)”, to the jabbing chug-fest of “Chainclad”, to the dismal, anguished, atmospheric eeriness of the title track (which features Lindberg’s distinctive snarl), to the multi-faceted final excursion of “The Becoming”.
But you could throw a dart at the album’s track list and come up with a winner regardless of where it might strike, because the album is so strong all the way through. What unites the songs apart from Łakomy’s blood-spraying vocals are those magnetic guitar melodies (which are given room to shine in even the most turbo-charged and barbaric of the songs), the eye-popping drum performance of Dawid Bytnar, and the powerhouse production of the sound by the band’s bassist Marcin Rybicki at his Left Hand Sound studio.
The Grim Muse is an electrifying listening experience, and I hope it gets the attention it deserves, because it really is one of the highlights of 2015. It rekindles the excitement of the first time I heard Terminal Spirit Disease and Slaughter of the Soul without feeling like a re-tread, and that’s an accomplishment worth praising.
P.S. The great cover art was created by Robert A. von Ritter (Facebook page here).