Reverie- Bliss

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Monday, September 21, 2015

Reverie’s debut full length Bliss originally came out back in May as an independent release, with Invictus Productions giving the album another vinyl pressing a few months later. Labels like Invictus have had a knack for finding talent early on and throwing their support behind them, and this Danish death metal band is no exception. Coming in somewhere between the thrash tinged death metal of bands like Vampire and the adventurous nature of Tribulation and Morbus Chron in a more compact form, Bliss makes a strong impression in thirty five minutes while laying out plenty of potential paths that this group could further explore as they continue to develop.

First impressions are always important for an album, so I always like it when bands choose to jump right into things rather than padding out the beginning of a release with an extended intro. Reverie chooses to go for the former and it works to their benefit, as they kick things right into high gear with the fast paced “Dust and Dirt”. The riffing has a definite thrash influence, and like Morbus Chron/Tribulation during some of their fastest moments there is also a hint of eerier melodic guitar work interwoven into the rawer assault. Compared to the progressive, sprawling nature of those two acts what these guys have put together feels much more compact and concise, with the experimental bits often coming out of thin air and catching the listener by surprise. For the most part the emphasis here is on speed and twisting and turning riffs that lead into bursts of the unexpected. “Fall Apart” ends with a catchy guitar solo that suddenly gives way to a flute solo, while the second half of “Blood In The Sea” shifts the tonality over towards a cleaner sound that has much more of a progressive/classical feel. Bliss uses these moments as extra flourishes that grab your attention rather than making it the focus, but it always caught my attention as I made my way through and these melodic moments worked well with the rawness and unrelenting nature of the death metal that’s at the core of the album. There are some sections where the twisting and turning riffing sounded just a little bit similar to me, and that is an area that I think will be improved upon as this band grows.

Halfdan Holden Venlov’s vocals come in somewhere between a harsher mid-range scream and cleaner pitches that are closer to yelling. It’s the type of pitch that makes it fairly easy to make out the lyrics, something that’s certainly not something you can about death metal very frequently. Bliss has been recorded in a way that gives Venlov quite a bit of space to tower over the instrumentation and come at the listener with full force, which is something that I found quite appealing. I do suspect that the vocals may end up being something of a sticking point for some though, particularly as the pitch loses some of its rasp and comes across like more of a clean yell, which could prove to be a bit of an acquired taste. But I found that the more I listened to Reverie the more I liked it, as it’s a nice change of pace from the constant barrage of guttural ranges that I’m so used to for this type of material. It also helps that there’s often this feeling that the screaming is right on the verge of collapsing in on itself but it never does, which gives the vocal work a rawer edge.

There’s a lot to like about Reverie’s debut, particularly if you’re a fan of the type of death metal that’s got the speed of thrash with plenty of twisting, turning riffs. Though there is some familiarity to other bands and similar riff construction between some of the songs, you can hear these guys starting to head off on their own path and there are quite a few hooks that I think will keep listeners coming back. With that being said though, this is another one of those situations where I really like a release but am even more excited for all the potential directions that are still left to be explored, and predict that Reverie’s likely to go from a top notch newcomer to a jaw dropping act in another album or two.

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