Reflections of Darkness

Grade: 9/10

Loud, proud, guttural riffs, monumental drumming and a hefty screamed vocal introduce to 'Ghost Song' and give us a taste of why many have tipped this as one of the most important metal albums of the year. It's an impressive first track and does not disappoint. 'Arusia' continues in much the same vein leaving no-one who hears this in any doubt about the technical abilities neither of COMPOS MENTIS nor of their abilities to stamp a signature style on their work. 'The 44th King' is altogether cleverer and subtler than the first two tracks with a nice turn in sounds effects to begin it, with a funeral bell and what sounds like harpsichords overlaid by drawn steel before those tight metal riffs are back, this time with a truly symphonic blast going on behind and the usual tight drumming and vocals that this time are mellower but no less powerful and used to great effect.

'In the Garden of the Dead' sets a sombre and interesting rhythm for a metal track and is beautifully constructed with desperate vocals and tempered backing allowing every note of every instrument to be heard  in a perfectly balanced way. It's fantastic. 'White Cut Red Blood' is up next and its back to the screamed vocals and flat out drumming, which although excellent in it's own right pales next to the previous two tracks, but there is an outstanding use of piano in this track overlaid by truly vicious riffs and a really melodic and complex bass line. 'Lady's bower' has a, dare I say it, almost electronic feel to it initially, but that's soon killed off by some metal havoc and despite it's delicate title this is one of the strongest tracks on the album. 'Infinite Fire' and the fantastically titled 'Mermaid Decapitation' are both resoundingly good tracks with the latter being the most melodic on the whole album and showing us that a very nice line in semi clean vocalists possible as well as some awesome metal screaming.

Two bars of truly great piano lure you into thinking that this 'Butcher's Bench' is a gentler track, but no, actually once the wall of sound that is Compos Mentis hit you, you realise that your spiralling down into metal so tight and hard that you think it won't be bettered, not until 'Angel Maker' appears which is by far the best track on the album. Harsh and unforgiving, melodic and fantastically adeptly put together, the sound is sublime and the drumming beyond compare. 'Kingdom of Dania' finished the album with an anthem like rhythm and surreal strings and keyboards lending a gentle backing to scorching riffs, solid bass lines, the usual excellent drumming and vocals that can't be faulted. This album is every bit as good as it, and everyone else, says it is. There is practically nothing to fault in its entire construction and the sound is as near perfect as I've ever heard on a metal album. 100% recommended.