Council of the Fallen

Deciphering the Soul

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The second album by Florida's Council of the Fallen is basically inert, a tired collection of over-familiar riffs set to the sort of lockstep rhythms that even the most die-hard fans of black metal are starting to tire of. Although the spacious production (by Erik Rutan, who had been in the far superior Hate Eternal with drummer Derek Roddy) gives the album a more immediate and punchier feel than the band's comparatively flat Roddy-produced debut, 2002's Revealing Damnation, the songs are uniformly uninteresting both lyrically and musically. This is a shame, because Council of the Fallen's one key attribute is that singer/guitarist Kevin Quirion's death growl is truly excellent, entirely lacking in the unintentional comedy of many who attempt this more-difficult-than-it-sounds vocal style. Unfortunately, this talent makes Quirion's occasional leaps into a stratospherically pitched wail -- which sounds like Russell Mael imitating Beavis' sugar-fueled alter ego The Great Cornholio -- sound that much less convincing.

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