This band is a hidden gem if I ever saw one. Black metal bands in general are so over-the-top and so uninspiring that I find it pretty much impossible to get into the genre. But once in a while one comes along that both impresses and frightens me in a way that it is hard for me to explain. How could mere mortals come up with such a masterpiece? The only black metal band I have felt that way about is Carach Angren, but Tvangeste’s masterpiece of symphonic black metal comes pretty close!
Tvangeste has an interesting history. Originally based in Russia, Tvangeste released two albums while in Russia — one containing both an orchestra and choir that was quite fondly received by critics — before the band split up and two of the members moved to Canada, where they are currently working on a much-anticipated third album. This band really knows what they’re doing with the kind of music they are choosing to write and perform, and it shows; every song blends together harmoniously, almost seeming to merge together to form one long epic. My only complaint in this regard is that this one long epic is perhaps a little too long — even music this good can get monotonous. But enough of that, let’s talk about the actual musicianship going on in this band.
Like I said, they really know what they’re doing. While none of the metal musicians are extraordinary, they are not the focus of the album. The focus of the album is the symphonics; and no, these are not cheesy and overblown like the what Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir insert in their works so frequently. This is an actual orchestra and you can tell. (Yes, I know Cradle and Dimmu use orchestras in some of their albums too, but so often it’s just cheesy keyboards providing the symphonics.) The orchestra complements the metal and solos, in addition to being the obvious focus of the album. The metal is not very complicated and it doesn’t need to be. This was written to showcase the symphonics that this band could put together, with the orchestra to help them achieve this.