Estatic Fear - A Sombre Dance
CCP Records
Symphonic Doom Metal
10 songs (49'31)
Release year: 1999
CCP Records
Reviewed by Milan
Archive review

Consider this part two of my unplanned forgotten gems series (Garden of Shadows's Oracle Moon being part one). Estatic Fear are (were?) an Austrian doom metal band that, just like Garden of Shadows, released two albums before being put on hold, never to be heard of again. A Sombre Dance is (was?) their last album and, again just like Garden of Shadows, the band ended on a very high note. But don't let this comparison fool you, for besides this the two bands have nothing in common. Estatic Fear play a very melancholic form of doom metal, enriched with a big variety of instruments. There are the electric guitars, drumming and growls typical of doom metal and on top of this there's the use of acoustic guitars, flutes, cello, piano, synths and female vocals. You'd think that this would be what set this band apart from their genre counterparts. And while this is most definitely true, the thing that sets them apart the most is not that they use all these instruments, it's how they've been incorporated into the songwriting that makes this album such a winner.

With this in mind it is quite astonishing that all this was created by one man: Matthias Kogler. Sure, there are a bunch of guest musicians that do vocals and instruments such as the flute and cello, but Kogler wrote every note of this fifty minute journey by himself. It's very easy to, unknowingly, become overindulgent when you're creating something all by yourself without any input from someone less involved. No overindulgence to be found here though: everything is very well thought out, every instrument gets its moment to shine without overstaying its welcome. This is by the way a very instrumentally driven album. There's a big variety of vocals ranging from low death growls to ethereal female vocals but they are only used when appropriate, letting the various instruments set the melancholic mood.

This album is extremely impressive because of its variety in instrumentation, the attention to detail, the technical and songwriting prowess and its overall uniqueness. It's a beautiful, epic journey that will conjure up a wide range of emotions in the listener and needs to be experienced from start to finish in one sitting. There's a reason the album is structured like a book or a play, each song representing a chapter in a complex story that will take you to another world for nearly an hour. Yet as with every good story it will seemingly be over in five minutes. This is a forgotten gem of symphonic doom metal (although there's much, much more to it than that) that needs to be heard. Once again those lucky few to find a copy of this should cherish it, for it will be a unique addition to their collection. One they'll be listening to very often during those rainy evenings in autumn.

Killing Songs :
Chapter I, Chapter II, Chapter IV
Milan quoted 93 / 100
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