Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Music Review - Hguols - Celestial Powers Intervened To True Supremacy

The previous Hguols album I reviewed, 'Maunstraut,' was a primarily ambient/neoclassical/medieval venture; lots of keyboards, choir/orchestration. 'Celestial Powers Intervened To True Supremacy' isn't terribly different; however, there are some interesting distinctions.

This album focuses much more on achieving a black-metal sound, rather than the medieval atmosphere of the previous record. This is accomplished via a drum-machine and guitars playing a center role in the music, and the results are pretty solid. The drum-machine sounds fairly artificial but never really goes into superhuman speed, which is in itself an accomplishment. The music itself is geared more towards a 'grim' atmosphere accompanied by huge swells of dark orchestration; it's not very removed from the previous album in terms of it's core.

This is a slight point against the album, unfortunately; it almost feels like a rehash of 'Maunstraut,' but a little darker and with drums. The music is darker, but still retains a video-game feel to it, which can be awkward with the blast beats and guitar. The drums seem to fast for the most part, and while they aren't bad by any means it does seem like they're out of place considering the core of the music is still ambient/neoclassical/medieval.

This isn't all bad, however. The closer track, 'To Find Destiny,' is outstanding; dark, heavy and flowing, as is the opening track 'I Found the Essence of Darkness.' The rest of the songs are solid enough on their own but the style does get repetitive after listening to the entire album. As individual songs in say, an mp3 shuffle playlist, they would be terrific, but not so much as a body of music.

'Celestial Powers Intervened To True Supremacy' is not a bad album, but compared to 'Maunstraut,' it does seem lacking. The drums and guitar don't add enough to the somewhat rehashed music to make it stand out; 'Maunstraut' was a terrific balance of ideas that I'd love to see Hguols go back to. Give this a listen though, if only to hear what a sped-up, slightly darker and heavier 'Maunstraut' sounds like. I'd like to see another album in that style from Hguols, and if the drum/guitar combo is taken away and the songwriting becomes a little more tight, the next album will be a sure-fire winner.