Album review – SEMBLANT – Vermillion Eclipse

Frontiers [release date: 15.04.22]

Semblant’s second album on the Frontiers label sees this Brazilian Melodic (Death) Metal band confidently cement its leading position in the “one to watch” category.

The “Death” description is misleading, and only gets used in the media to reflect the band’s mixed use of “harsh” vocals.

Having lost the opportunity to tour the USA with their last album Obscura (2020), due to the pandemic, they’re clearly coming out their corner swinging with Vermillion Eclipse.

On the surface the album is full of cool, colourful song titles. Underneath, it’s almost impossible to peel back the layers. Even if you wanted to.
Opener, ‘Enrage’, ‘Bloodred Monarchy’ and ‘Black Sun Genesis’ engage in breathtaking changes of pace as each narrative progresses and each story unfolds.

They risk sensory overload at times – ‘Purified’ and ‘Neverending Fall’ are particularly hypnotic – with the band’s cross generic melodic / symphonic metal stylings pushing the music to the edge of the frame.

All through Vermillion Eclipse, the band bait a disquieting, doomful agenda with catchy hooks and a rock solid mix of power metal aggression, laced with progmetal complexity. The combination of Mizuho Lin’s soprano and the clean and harsh vocals of Sergio Mazul is consistently effective.

These are unusual, daring combinations of approach and style, often drawing out a voluntary emotional response.

Ten minute closing track, ‘Day One Oblivion’ crams all of the above into a glorious rush of guttural and soprano amplitude, both running in parallel to slick guitar and keyboard gearshifts, as the song straightens out in a climactic rush for the finishing line. It’s a magnificent closer.

The band’s unexpected mix of styles might hold it back. Open minded metal fans will love Vermillion Eclipse. ****

review by Brian McGowan

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