Intaglio - Intaglio
Solitude Productions
Funeral Doom
4 songs (46'58")
Release year: 2005
Intaglio, Solitude Productions
Reviewed by Adam
It is not often that we see a true one-man band in metal. In fact, though I’m sure there have been a few, I have racked my brain over the last few days, and can’t seem to recall a single one. Well, this review doesn’t really contain one either. However, Russian funeral doom band Intaglio, the brainchild of Evgeny Semenov, was just such a singular concoction from its inception in 2004 until early 2005, when Maksim Mazin was recruited to handle vocal duties. Save for the vocals, everything from guitars to programmed noise and drums is handled by Semenov on the band’s self-titled debut album on Solitude Productions. This is an interesting build to say the least, so I was very intrigued to hear the band’s take on one of my favorite styles of music.

Following the curiosly post rock sounding opener, aptly titled The Beginning, the dark and sludgy trail begins in earnest with Dark Cherry Day. Well, in earnest at least as much as a funeral doom song can be. The bands style is very slow, yet somehow seeming to keep just enough of a pace to be noticed. Semenov layers his guitars masterfully, with one taking a base of distorted sludge, while the other picks one eerie clean note after another. It is in this method that the band takes a large cue from Evoken, which is never a bad thing as far as I’m concerned. The vocals of Mazin are soft ghost-like growls that, while nothing groundbreaking, are an adequate companion for the grim orchestra Semenov creates. One thing to note about Intaglio’s music is that, besides the ultra slow movement, it shares very little with some of the genre’s more well known names like Shape of Despair or Skepticism. This is primarily due to the minimal amount of keyboards or orchestral effects. Intaglio opt instead to create their atmosphere with drawn out guitar notes and frequent use of a desolate, windy sound, similar to the background noise an action movie might employ while overlooking a desert setting after a huge battle has taken place.

There are only four songs on this record, technically three as The Beginning is really an intro. Despite this, and in typical funeral doom fashion, it still manages to creep up on 50 minutes in runtime. The final two tracks contain well more than half of the total, beginning with Solitude. Perhaps not the best choice for a song title as most doom fans will associate this word with the classic track which unleashed Candlemass onto the world. While it may not live up to its title persay, it is still effective in utilizing all the elements at Semenov’s disposal. The only problem is that it is very interchangeable with its predecessor Dark Cherry Day. The final track, Wind of Autumn, continues much in the same manner, though I feel it is the strongest effort on the album. Something about the nearly continuous clean guitar progression gave the song much more emotion than I had become accustomed to hearing from this band. Mazin’s vocals are extremely subdued; at one point nothing more than a scared whisper. Things aren’t perfect though, as I thought the periods of near silence did not suit the atmosphere the first 8 minutes had managed to create. First, a shorter passage containing only drums and the aforementioned desert wind sound, and then, around the 11 minute point, the wind is left by itself while the occasional drum beat or guitar note will make an appearance. Calling these periods minimalistic would be a severe understatement. If these two portions could have been left off, Wind of Autumn could have been one amazing 13 minute display of all the things that make funeral doom great.

Intaglio has created a fine first effort here. The atmospheres are mostly stunning, especially considering they are mostly the product of one man. There really aren’t a whole lot of flaws I can point out, though I would like to see more variation and progression of their sound with the follow up. It is absolutely crucial for a good funeral doom band to avoid the ever-present pitfall of monotony. In this regard, Intaglio managed to do well on their debut, though at times not by much.
Killing Songs :
Dark Cherry Day, Wind of Autumn
Adam quoted 76 / 100
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