The second album by Russia’s Intaglio, unassumingly entitled II, follows their debut by more than 15 years. It is filled with moments that set off fireworks inside a listener’s head.
That’s probably not something you expect to read about a band whose music is classified by Metal Archives as “Funeral Doom”. Most music so classified is more likely to mesmerize than it is to provoke gasps of wonder. But II isn’t typical, and while it is indeed entrancing, the magnificent spell it casts derives from unusual ingredients and an unusual conception (and Funeral Doom is no longer an adequate description).
In its conception, II was intended to be experienced as a single long piece. It has a 7-part track list (though there are no pauses between the tracks) and consists of movements, but it is accurately described as a single “doom opera” which achieves its full impact only when heard from beginning to end.
For its ingredients, Intaglio assembled a large cast of performers and live instruments. Seven professional singers contributed voices that range from basso profundo to soprano. The instruments included not only a panoply of electric and acoustic guitars and percussive sources but also classical instruments such as upright bass, cello, chimes, and flute, as well as mouth harp.