A new talented Danish band has seen the light in the shape of Compos Mentis. The musical style can briefly be described as Melodeath with some Black Metal influences, blending elements from In Flames, Dark Tranquillity and Dimmu Borgir to their own personal sound.
This is Compos Mentis' debut album, and has already gained them a fair amount of appreciation.
The quality of the music is overall very high, and the songs have a lot of details, which prevents the music from getting boring.
A quiet piano intro and rain in the background sets the atmosphere, before the opening track Drained blasts ahead reminding me a little of Dissection. The tempo slows down, and the harsh, raw vocals set in, as well as the melodic keyboard. The melodies lies in the guitars and keyboard, the latter also adding a special atmosphere. The song continues in midtempo, and is very melodic and has a good flow. The music is well structured, and gives space to all musical elements; keyboard, guitars, vocals and drums.
A special mention must go to Temptation, my personal favorite on the album. What a song! It has everything from a very good way of building up, a strong chorus and an aggressive, yet melancholic feeling to it! Actually, this song was the reason I discovered Compos Mentis, as it was a track on a sampler from Mighty Magazine. When I listen to Temptation it's hard to sit down, I just have to headbang and jump around! It has this certain melancholic and wild feeling at the same time. The melody is very catchy, and around the middle comes a very melodic part, with beautiful keyboard and a little acoustic guitar. The chorus is very memorable, and the song is pretty easy to get into for this sort of music.
A mellow guitar intro takes us to another quality track, My Inner Beast. This is pretty straight ahead Melodeath in the Gothenburg style. Growls and more clean vocals create a nice diversity vocal wise. The blistering drums is what gives the song its aggressive foundation.
Around the middle some choir like, chanting voices dominates the song for a short part. There is a nice groove in this track, but the big force is the many different elements and the almost constant change of structure, giving a diverse and interesting sound!
Black Clouds Gather has a very cool and highly melodic keyboardline and vocals that are screamed out in a very intense way! The feeling and structure in this song is kind of oldschool Heavy Metal, as far as drums and guitars go. The song holds a lot of surprises and has many small details and shifts in tempo, which makes it a pleasant listening experience!
The Innate God is the longest song on the album, and perfectly blends melodic keyboard tunes, blistering guitars, and hard drums. Screamed out and spoken vocals add more variation to this great track. The short melodic keyboard riff gives the song an extra dimension and the hard guitars and detailed drumming creates a solid fundament.
The music in general is very raw while still atmospheric and melodic at the same time. The hard beating drums and soaring, aggressive vocals are softened up a bit by the keyboard and guitar, which creates an, at times melancholic and at times almost bombastic feeling. As I love music that masters this dualism between pure aggression and nice melodies, this is something I appreciate!
So, is there anything to criticize on this album? Well, the songs are pretty alike and sometimes the album blends together in a way, where I can't really separate the tracks...a little more catchiness in some songs wouldn't hurt. The vocals also become a little bit predictable. I like it best when they shift between growls, screams and a some spoken parts, but that's just my personal taste of course!
Summing up, this is a very good album, which fans of Melodic Death Metal with some Black influences should definitely give a try!