Darker Designs & Images
(Napalm Records)
Enslain Magazine Volume 2, Issue 1
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Grab your neighbor's neck and come join Siebenbürgen for another feast of vampiricism! Staying true to their trademark approach of dark melodies atop deep and affecting rhythms, "Darker Designs & Images" is an atmospherically heavy treat. While not raw or brutal, the sound on this disc is genuine and uncommercialized. Certain songs are more like vampire/battle metal, most notably in the war hymn of the "Darker Designs" chorus, while others are dark metal with hints of black and goth. Still each song is consistent to their easily identifiable style.

The guitarwork manages to escape genre classification. Instead of following a black or death metal pattern, they simply design melodies that are sharp and exciting, minimizing the need for the rich and moody synths. Tons of double-bass and plenty of low-end accentuate the heaviness of their dark sound. Several songs feature the ancient art of guitar solo-ing, done in a modified traditional style and fitting in perfectly. The female vocals, now handled by Erika Roos, are a mildly operatic soprano, and her soft melodic lines are an effective contrast to Marcus Ehlin's grizzly black metal growls. The two voices trade-off passages, with Ehlin's vocal being predominant, but it is interesting to hear the two voices harmonizing, forming an unexpectedly effective duet. The vampiric nature of Ehlin's echoey growls and screeches counterbalances Roos' innocense and purity. "Darker Designs & Images" is another great effort from these Swedes, and a welcome comeback after four years of silence. --
Lady Enslain