Graveworm: Stefan Fiori (vocals); Eric Righi (guitar, bass); Steve Unterpertinger (guitar); Sabine Mair (keyboards); Maschtl Innerbichler (drums).
Additional personnel: Herman Kuhebacher (flute, Irish whistle, bagpipes).
Recorded in March 2003.
Personnel: Stefan Fiori (vocals); Steve Unterpertinger, Eric Righi (guitar); Sabine Mair (keyboards); Marion Innerbichler (drums).
Recording information: Stage One Studio (03/26/2003).
Photographer: Sitzmann Barbara.
Symphonic black metal is Graveworm's chosen method of attack, and their sonic resemblance to Cradle of Filth is simultaneously their benefit and their bane. Fourth full-length manifesto Engraved in Black is quite competent in performance, execution, and production, but when placed in the context of other releases within their genre, it's ultimately dry and derivative. Clocking in at less than 40 minutes (42 if you have the limited-edition digipak with a bonus track), the album is refreshingly direct and concise when compared to most bloated black metal prog opuses, and it's full of Gothic synths, articulate riffing, dramatic bravado, and guttural-to-piercing-rasp vocal trade-offs on which the aforementioned Filthies banked their artistically successful career. The album is padded by two short keyboard-heavy instrumentals ("Thorns of Desolation," which utilizes flute and bagpipes, and "Apparition of Sorrow"), and tracks such as "Legions Unleashed" and "Abhorrence" offer spot-on time changes and a memorable riff or melody. ~ John Serba