“Scandinavia's” sense of creating catchy melodies is nearly unbeatable. Denmark's Compos Mentis is another melodic death metal band from this territory and Gehennesis is their second offering. Admittingly, Compos Mentis approach this sub-genre in darker and more symphonic way than the majority of bands in said genre.
Compos Mentis' compositions are dominated by notably melodic rhythm guitars and Jesper's screaming and almost hardcoreish vocals. The Symphonic keyboards in the background and even foreground sometimes are greatly executed and add totally a new dimension to Compos Mentis' themes. Moreover, the songs are in the 4-7 minute range and the anatomy of the tunes is fairly progressive.
“Portrait of an Attempted Escape” and “Tale of the Shadow” prominent parts are dominated by a choir with 45 singers who boosted the songs up to a majestic level. “Portrait of an Attempted Escape” in particular was extremely well done and the choir singing made me believe I was in a convent for a while.
I applaud Compos Mentis' ability to create memorable melodies and their leaning towards dark progressive death metal. I applaud their experimenting in bringing a mighty choir and finally I give standing ovation to their genius use of haunting keyboard themes which provides for blackish and theatrical atmospheres. Yet, I find their constant use of screaming vocals to become toilsome in the long run and I miss awesome musicianship in the vein of lighting guitar and keyboard solos. By adding some virtuosity wisely in their compositions and more variation in the vocal department they could be headed towards something big. Gehennesis is still a stellar release which I recommend for fans of Dark Tranquillity and the like.