|Ecnephias - Inferno
02. A Satana
03. A Stealthy Hand Of An Occult Ghost
04. Buried In The Dark Abyss
05. Fiercer Than Any Fear
06. Voices Of Dead Souls
07. Secret Ways
08. In My Black Church
10. Chiesa Nera
Ecnephias is an Italian melodic gothic metal band that, from the beginning to the end of Inferno, ebbs and flows between seeming really, pretty good at what they do and seeming really, pretty awful at it. What's evident throughout, however, is that they do know how to write catchy, eerie tunes. Maybe not code red, JG Wentworth, "Circle The Wagons" kind of catchy, but definitely the slightly more boring, "hum for a while after hearing it" kind.
Which I guess can be enough, sometimes. If you're the kind of person who needs metal playing all the time, this could probably be a pretty strong candidate for some morning shower tunes, say, or tunes to whistle along to in an elevator. Or for when you're in a draugr killing-induced coma, drooling, moving your thumbs to Skyrim...or maybe when you're trying to fall asleep.
In other words, it's not the most engaging stuff, but that seems to be the point. Ultimately it really is anodyne extreme metal, and doesn't really pretend to be anything else. Ecnephias somehow makes their stuff work. What exactly is their stuff? Think Rotting Christ riffs slowed down with some Johann Hegg-esque vocals, that all comes together to remind me a bit of TYR, with some clean, instrumental interludes thrown in for the fuck of it.
Which sounds all well and good, I guess, it's just the problem is riffs break down too regularly and songs hit blocks too regularly. On top of that, understanding what Ecnephias were actually going for on this is frustrating. Parts of it seem to strive toward making your spine quiver, and parts of it seem to be built to slosh beer around and sing along to. Most of the time, tracks will seem to try to do both. And, most of the time, they fail.
But the occasional hum-along riff might make up for all that. All in all, this does make for decent background music. Not music to get you up and moshing to, or tunes to make you collapse introspectively and, in a trance, want to rub up on old cathedrals to, and it's not really even the kind of disc that will ever make you think "this is good". Rather, you'll probably say "this is passable" and continue to say that until it ends.