Melodic death metal is an ever-expanding genre, with the likes of INSOMNIUM blasting their way into the foreground of the scene. As such, it’s increasingly difficult for bands to break into the genre and gain popularity, let alone sound unique or stand out from the other contenders. Given the praise received for BLACK THERAPY‘s debut album, Symptoms of a Common Sickness, how do they exceed that with their upcoming album, In the Embrace of Sorrow, I Smile?
Tears of Innocence sets the tone for the album, bringing us in with a sombre piano piece that instantly brings deep emotion to the record and allows the listener to immerse themselves totally. This beautiful intro, enhanced with the aid of an incredibly powerful orchestral piece in the background, builds you up for the title track, In the Embrace of Sorrow, I Smile.
In the Embrace of Sorrow, I Smile showcases the vocal work of Giuseppe Di Giorcio kicking off with a single and painful growl before the rest of the band are introduced with matching ferocity. A tremolo pattern leads the way to an emotional pre-chorus, accompanied by Giuseppe Di Giorcio’s vocals and other members screaming “In the embrace of sorrow, I smile”, which aids in driving the vital emotional aspect of melodeath to the forefront and presenting it excellently. In this song in particular, heavy INSOMNIUM influences are heard, but BLACK THERAPY have managed to make their own sound, especially due to Giuseppe Di Giorcio and drum work from Luca Soldati, which really make the band stand out from other bands in the same vein. The inclusion of a black metal tint to the vocals on occasion add flavour and a twist to the traditional melodic-death blend, which make for a very interesting listen.
Differing from a somewhat softer couple of tracks, Foolishness of Existence offers some significantly meatier riffs compared to the title track. Foolishness of Existence features deeper, more death-metal focused vocals, creating a whole other sound for the band and displaying both their versatility and their respect for traditional death metal and melodeath – who can’t love that?
The record hits hard on Paintings of a Black Ocean – a spoken-word track with an incredibly moving acoustic piece and deep backing vocals. You can’t help but feel real emotion radiate from the track, especially as the words “You wait in vain for a rest that will never come.” True hopelessness and despair leaks from this track in a beautiful and professional way, which is something that is seldom seen. BLACK THERAPY have nailed true emotion in their music and shared it perfectly in this album, which in itself is its own art.
She, The Weapon is a full-frontal attack of the senses and emotions, going right at it with chunky riffs that get you pumped from the offset. “Love is the last fortress she has to remember” is screamed along with beautifully executed guitar work from both Daniele Rizzo and Lorenzo Carlini, a battery of drums, from Luca Soldati. Alessandro Finocchiaro brings a slamming bass line to the track, completing it and making it the highlight of the album. Other tracks on the album which are more than worthy of a mention are Theogony, a slightly slower-paced, but equally hard-hitting track brought to life by incredible drum work from Luca Soldati.
In the Embrace of Sorrow, I Smile is an example of melodic death metal done right, without falling into the pit of sounding too sorrowful that it becomes overwhelming or overplayed. BLACK THERAPY have created an album that is diverse in its home sub-genre, while throwing in their own twists to the field and making a sound for their own. This record would be an ideal introduction to the melodic death metal genre, specifically for those who prefer the sorrowful, melancholic side of music, but are also welcoming of faster-paced and harder-hitting tracks. Being their second album, it’s safe to say that BLACK THERAPY are doing well for themselves in the genre, and one would be missing out on an incredible experience should they miss listening to this record.
In the Embrace of Sorrow, I Smile is out now via Apostasy Records.
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