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Intaglio - II (CD)

neoclassical doom death metal, Solitude Productions, Solitude Productions
Old price: 900.00 Р
540.00 Р
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CD
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SP. 165-21 x
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After many years of silence Intaglio has released a new full-length album called “II”. The album can be described as a "doom opera" and will not only amaze old fans of the band, but should also interest new listeners with the contributions Intaglio has made to the development of the style.

A large form was used on "II", which is exceedingly rare in metal and rock music. Only live instruments were used in the recording, including classical ones such as cello and upright bass, and professional vocalists with voices varying from basso profundo to soprano have created a unique palette of sounds. The album is a conceptual work with compositions and lyrics united as a single large piece, and for the full experience should be listened to from beginning to end in order to completely immerse the listener into its atmosphere.

"II" was recorded and mixed at Slow Burn Studio (When Nothing Remains, Woe Unto Me), was mastered by Mika Jussila (Shape Of Despair, Isole, Unholy, Moonspell) at the legendary Finnvox studio in Finland, and includes stunning cover art crafted by the Polish artist Mariusz Lewandowski (Bell Witch, Atramentus) and designed to highlight and complement the album's unique music. Both massive and sophisticated Intaglio’s creation is a brand new and exciting take on the doom death genre.

Tracklist:
Midnight Sonata
I. The Night Sky 5:24
II. Melting Like Ice... 3:44
III. Always Return 3:54
4. Subject To Time 8:01
5. The Memory Of Death 7:55
6. Depths Of Space 5:50
7. Everything In Its Place 7:14

Artist:
Intaglio
Artist Country:
Russia
Album Year:
2021
Title:
II
Style:
neoclassical doom death metal
Format:
CD
Type:
CD Album
Package:
Jewel Case
Label:
Solitude Productions
Cat No:
SP. 165-21
Release Year:
2021
Barcode:
4627080612020
Country Of Manufacture:
Russia
Review
Mournful Sounds
30.10.2021

Al netto dell’anomalia costituita dall’album dei Voy (Вой), venuto alla luce a quasi vent’anni dalla sua realizzazione, il primo “vero” full length di funeral doom pubblicato in Russia è stato nel 2005 quello auto intitolato degli Intaglio – anticipando di un mese Not A Gleam Of Hope dei Comatose Vigil – anche se poi le band guida del movimento sono diventate altre essendo rimasta quell’opera senza un seguito per oltre un decennio. D’altro canto uno degli altri elementi che hanno contribuito a rivestire di una certa aura di culto la band di Orel è anche il fatto d’essere la creatura musicale di quell’Evgeny Semenov che successivamente segnerà la storia del doom estremo con la Solitude Productions, ovvero l’etichetta discografica con cui più il funeral death doom oggi si identifica. Prima l’uscita del singolo The Memory of Death nel 2019 e l’anno dopo la riedizione rivisitata del lavoro d’esordio hanno preparato il terreno al sospirato secondo full length, semplicemente intitolato II. Gli Intaglio non possiedono il solenne e drammatico senso della melodia dei Comatose Vigil e neppure le peculiari e talvolta dissonanti sonorità degli Who Dies In Siberian Slush e, oggi come allora, sono autori di un funeral ben eseguito e levigato, reso malinconico da un ottimo uso degli archi, ma aperto soluzioni più ariose specialmente quando i diversi ospiti si esprimono con evocativi toni puliti o lirici, in alternativa al sempre efficace growl prestato proprio da Evander Sinque dei citati WDISS. II è un lavoro di buono spessore ma non è il capolavoro che forse qualcuno auspicava, pur nel suo impeccabile incedere e nella cura messa da Semenov in tutti i particolari, incluso l’artwork affidato a un nome di spicco come quello di Mariusz Lewandowski. Personalmente ritengo che non ci siano tracce deboli o deludenti ma il lavoro offre la sensazione di peccare in coesione, un po’ come se i diversi brani siano stati composti in un lasso di tempo molto ampio – in fondo uno iato discografico così lungo avalla tale ipotesi – per cui a episodi dall’approccio più evocativo se ne alternano altri che presentano sprazzi di canonico funeral, oppure digressioni classicheggianti o post metal. Ad ogni buon conto sono proprio i due brani usciti come singolo (oltre al già citato The Memory of Death, l’album è stato anticipato anche da Subject To Time) a spiccare nel contesto, in virtù di quegli spunti carichi di un malinconico sentire capaci di fare la differenza. Chiunque può facilmente intuire, in ogni singolo frangente, che il lavoro degli Intaglio è opera di qualcuno che conosce a menadito le dinamiche e ogni piega di quest’ambito stilistico e tutto ciò si rivela funzionale alla proposta di un album soddisfacente, utile a confermare la rilevanza storica della band nella storia del sottogenere in patria, pur senza annoverare contenuti imprescindibili. In ogni caso, Evgeny il suo posto nel Pantheon del funeral death doom se lo è già ampiamente guadagnato per l’incessante e meritorio lavoro di divulgazione delle sonorità che più amiamo grazie all’etichetta che gestisce da oltre quindici anni con passione e professionalità.
Review
Sinusodial Music
31.10.2021

Intaglio is a project concept that has lived in the limelight for 15 years or so since their debut. Have they been stagnant? No, musicians generally always create. Have they turned to a different genre? No, they have stuck true to what they thought was transcendental. Are they any good? II is the answer to that subjective question, so let’s see what they’ve put together for us.

The strings of death-what do they say?
Midnight Sonata -I. The Night Sky is the opening art piece. I call it an art piece and not a number because of the execution. Intaglio might be a funeral doom-death metal project, but the sense of doom, stellar loneliness and despair comes from the clever execution of strings and double bass. That is what sets them apart here as well. The song uses the depth of the cellos and distorted guitar to flush out a sound that wraps around your psyche. There are no quick pace changes, just chanting vocals entering-foreshadowing what is to come. The choir sounding vocals only enter later, making it a rich tune to begin the album with.

Keeping the flow going, Midnight Sonata -II. Melting Like Ice… uses the momentum and employs some more cultural textures. You clearly here Indian instruments or Mandala drums executing them. The cello holds the storyline, the simple instrumental sharing what is a timbre infused musical bit. About a minute in, you hear the guitars entering, aiding the simple melody as the drums follow suit. The vocals whisper, as the instrumentals dominate the profound clarity of the composition. As the marching bridge comes in before the breakdown, we hear the song mellow out to its eventual completion.

A concept album always keeps the song flowing. Midnight Sonata – III. Always Return follows in the same stream, as the growling vocals become denser and more ominous. As the single stroke riffs dominate the sonic atmosphere, single note melodies serve as an interlude in this progressive 3-piece song. By 1: 50, we build to the rhythmic part of the song which follows a beat, with a melancholy string instrumental, with bass doubling down the emotion. We hear clean vocals again, building and closing this introduction bit. Executed with curated perfection and a strange yet interesting concept to listen to.

Breaking into a new idea
Subject to Time was released as a single earlier this year, and is another melodic tapestry woven with elements of doom, death, and Intaglio’s signature string section. The drums tread lightly, yet have a clear footprint in this song. After a narrative bit, the growling commences, along with the rhythm section. Depending on single strums to ring out for the heaviness, the rhythm section intensifies, as the strings keep time with their gentle wailing. The 8-minute epic has a lot of elements, breaking between the deep sound of doom and the strings. Great track to listen to, profound to understand.

The Memory of Death opens with the guitar and a thunderous drum section, spaced out well into a juxtaposition of louder and softer riffs. One would argue that this sound is indiscernible, but this isn’t true as Intaglio pull it off. Shrewdly placing the breaks and heavier sounds in parts, they impart both the sounds that define them with purity that compromises on neither quality or delivery. It is an intense listen, with the song organically developing with the melancholy strings.

Funeral doom with contrasting elements
The next song aims to continue the melody of the previous track with some interesting chordal developments. Depths of Space is the personification of getting lost, with narration and minor scale progressions making it a sound that lingers and warps the idea of time with its strings and clean guitar sections. The middle break is a very clever addition, with the aspect of being lost in a mind not lost in ambiguity of the instrumental itself.

Everything in its Place continues in one fluid motion from Depths of Space. The song really goes through metamorphosis at midway, with its new sound being a callback to the opening but towards a new end as well. The strings coming in with its dynamism makes it clearly contrast the heavier part before the lyrics are put across. They close the song with the soft instrumental, the style with which they began. A full circle, like life.

II is a complex masterpiece for a project that seems to have been on hold for so long. In a stage of supposed incubation, they really seemed to have thrived, as a one-man project or the makings of different group dynamics. This album is a concept that has been tried, yet never been executed with such contrasting styles coming together. So, to answer the introduction banter question, is it any good? Very. A benchmark for the whole idea to live up to, so we can’t wait for more.
Review
Wings of Death
08.11.2021

Ik doe het niet vaak, een stukje schrijven over slechts een enkel nummer. Maar soms komt het voor dat ik iets voorbij hoor komen of krijg aangeboden, dat me vrijwel meteen weet te grijpen. Dit bleek ook het geval bij de single Subject To Time van de mij tot dan toe onbekende band Intaglio. Het zal niet verbazen dat het hier gaat over doom metal.

Die bandnaam klinkt volgens mij Italiaans, maar Intaglio (dit blijkt het Italiaans voor 'snijwerk' te zijn) is afkomstig uit Rusland. Intaglio is altijd een project geweest dat niet bang is om grenzen te verleggen en nieuwe normen te stellen in het genre. Het gebruik van contrabas en cello geeft een uniek karakter aan de muziek. Opgestart in 2004 / 2005 werd direct een zelfgetiteld debuutalbum uitgebracht, in de eigen taal, dus dat werd Инталия. Opvallend genoeg werd het daarna heel lang stil rond het project. Pas eind 2019 werd weer een teken van leven gegeven middels een splinternieuwe single, The Memory Of Death.

Na mijn kennismaking met Intaglio middels de singles Subject To Time en The Memory Of Death is het nu tijd voor hun tweede album (waarop beide genoemde nummers in hun volledige lengte terugkomen) simpelweg getiteld II. Intaglio lijkt inmiddels een 'echte' band, er wordt in elk geval een volledige bezetting vermeld, dit in tegenstelling tot hetgeen ik wist ten tijde van Subject To Time. Intussen is ook het debuutalbum opnieuw uitgebracht, die heb ik nog niet beluisterd maar dat ga ik zeker nog doen.

Eenmaal gewend aan de cello in plaats van de leadgitaar die je normaal daar zou verwachten, is het absoluut genieten van de atmosferische doom van Intaglio. Met de toevoeging van toetsen, meerstemmige zangpartijen en een fluit / blaasinstrument - ik weet helaas niet welke - wordt er nog extra sfeer meegebracht. Ik vind dit echt heerlijke relax-muziek: liggend op de bank, met de ogen richting sluitstand, geniet ik optimaal van de rustgevende funeral doom van deze band. Het verdient dan ook aanbeveling om het album als geheel te beluisteren; met 42 minuten is dat ook prima te doen.

De Midnight Sonata die in drie delen het album opent zet op uiterst sfeervolle manier - nog behoorlijk ingetogen - de toon. Op die manier kun je er nog letterlijk rustig inkomen. Eigenlijk kun je de muziek van Intaglio het best omschrijven als doom - niet eens per se metal - vanuit de benadering van klassieke muziek. Het doet me daarbij wel wat denken aan Samantha Kempster en Promethean Misery, die doom metal benadert en speelt zonder gitaar, maar met een nadrukkelijk distorte viool. Grappige overeenkomst is verder dat ik ook met die band kennis maakte in de vorm van een single.

Het heeft me even wat tijd gekost, maar uiteindelijk luister ik enorm graag naar Intaglio. Hoewel er zeker elementen van aanwezig zijn (grunt, trage en logge riffs) moet je eigenlijk de gedachte aan metal uitsluiten. Deze muziek is bovenal atmosferisch, vanuit een kalme invalshoek, waarbij de invulling door een klassiek instrumentarium (cello, contrabas, fluit, diverse zangstemmen) regelmatig de hoofdrol voor zich opeist. Ja, ik vind dit echt heel mooi!

Author: Chris van der Aa
Review
Doom-metal.com
8,5/10

I reviewed the demo single version of 'The Memory Of Death' back at the very end of 2019, when this album was originally scheduled to see probable release in 2020. A touch of worldwide disruption promptly ensued, so instead we got a remix of the self-titled debut album in 2020, and a second single in the shape of 'Subject To Time' earlier this year. In a way, I'm quite pleased about the slippage - I haven't been in much of a mood for Doom while the pandemic was really raging here, and since I was looking forward to hearing how 'II' would turn out, it's nice to be listening to it in a much more genre-receptive frame of mind. Especially, as it turns out, since Intaglio have made it a bit of a challenge.

From its beginnings as the solo Funeral Doom project of Solitude founder Evgeny Semenov, back in 2004, the band has moved into territory the press release describes as a "Doom opera", and which flirts extensively with a neoclassical Death/Doom sound. All instruments are "real", with a lengthy list of featured musicians contributing - amongst others - strings, flute, and a wide variety of different vocal ranges. The album itself is conceptual, designed to be listened to in its entirety as it explores the cycle of life and death against a cosmic backdrop. Not the most trivial of ideas, nor the most trivial of presentations: there's a lot to be taken in as the journey unfolds.

It all starts off intriguingly, effectively melding flute, cello (again, as per the singles, sounding almost like a viola), some relaxed guitar and the cavernously rumbling harsh vocals of Who Dies In Siberian Slush's Evander Sinque to begin the triptych of 'Midnight Sonata'. That quickly becomes more of a statement of intent, feeding in a number of contrasting male and female vocals, and more familiar Death/Doom motifs creeping into the guitars, particularly, and at times, the percussion. That never changes the semi- orchestral nature of the compositions, and the core of cello and double bass remain throughout, carrying stately themes as the album proceeds at a slow and steady tempo. The mix is an even-handed one, giving equal weight to all instruments: none of them are allowed to overwhelm, just to have their solo moments where appropriate. All of which help achieve the sense of continuity, where the songs are more movements within a symphony than discrete individual works. That may not be to everyone's taste, given that it doesn't provide clear boundaries and maintains a certain similarity of feel throughout, but when the intention is to provide a single immersive sonic voyage, it makes perfect sense.

Obviously, rock with classical instrumentation has been done on many an occasion, sometimes gimmicky, sometimes not. This is not: there is complete integration between all of the different compositional lines, though separation in terms of the ways they ebb and flow. In its most Death/Doom moments, you might be reminded a little of My Dying Bride, or The Fall Of Every Season, but these are linked by segments that vary from pure strings, through to gentler shared soundscapes that bring to mind classic Prog Rock/Metal melodies. It would be quite possible to name-drop a lot of bands where there are momentary resemblances, but that would be pointless - taken as a whole, 'II' offers some half-familiar refrains without ever sounding significantly like anything else. For me, the most significant trait of the album is the comparatively light atmosphere it creates - despite the harshest vocals and the sometime heavy guitars, the feeling here is not one of of oppressive heaviness, but a more subtle blend of melancholy, fatalism, and acceptance: a recognition and a regret that everything passes, in time, rather than a raging against that simple fact. There's dignity in that, and a certain amount of softness, even celebration of it, frequently carried by the more classically-oriented strings, as well as the clean guitars.

If I was to pick any fault with it, that would only be in the vocal palette, which sometimes comes across as being a little over-elaborate. The quality of the singing isn't in doubt, it's just that for me not all of the timbres and phrasings sit easily with my ears, nor do some of the switches between them. But that's just personal opinion: objectively, it's possible to understand why those contrasts are used, and others may well fully enjoy the additional variety that creates. In any case, it was never enough to prevent me listening to the album end-to-end, but sufficient to highlight that the vocal drama of opera, even Doom opera, isn't always simple to appreciate.

So, in conclusion, 'II' is an interesting release, and one which genuinely establishes some new and different ground. It's possible, with hindsight, to see traces of that already existed in the debut album, but not to predict how much more complicated and more technically advanced this sophomore would be. As to whether the underlying concept will appeal, it's hard to say, simply because there's not much it can be measured against. I found the sense of drifting, misty sadness to be an absorbing one, eminently suitable for times when a gentler soundtrack is desired - in that respect you could perhaps say it sits in similar territory to bands like Clouds, where it's something you might reach for in the right mood, rather than being a regular feature on your stereo. I'd certainly recommend it on those grounds, and on its willingness to try something different, but would caveat that those things also make it much more of a matter of personal taste than many Doom albums out there.

Author: Mike Liassides
Review
No Clean Singing
25.10.2021

The second album by Russia’s Intaglio, unassumingly entitled II, follows their debut by more than 15 years. It is filled with moments that set off fireworks inside a listener’s head.

That’s probably not something you expect to read about a band whose music is classified by Metal Archives as “Funeral Doom”. Most music so classified is more likely to mesmerize than it is to provoke gasps of wonder. But II isn’t typical, and while it is indeed entrancing, the magnificent spell it casts derives from unusual ingredients and an unusual conception (and Funeral Doom is no longer an adequate description).

In its conception, II was intended to be experienced as a single long piece. It has a 7-part track list (though there are no pauses between the tracks) and consists of movements, but it is accurately described as a single “doom opera” which achieves its full impact only when heard from beginning to end.

For its ingredients, Intaglio assembled a large cast of performers and live instruments. Seven professional singers contributed voices that range from basso profundo to soprano. The instruments included not only a panoply of electric and acoustic guitars and percussive sources but also classical instruments such as upright bass, cello, chimes, and flute, as well as mouth harp.

The opera begins with the three-part “Midnight Sonata“, which occupies the album’s first 13 minutes. The opening part, “The Night Sky”, begins creating the spell with heavy, grim reverberating chords coupled with whistling flute and cello strings. It slows and becomes more crushing and desolate under the impact of Evander Sinque‘s cavernous growls and Roman V‘s methodical, bone-smashing drum-blows. The first fireworks come when some of those trained voices make their first appearance and reach a crescendo as the cello soulfully wails.

The music flows seamlessly into “Melting Like Ice”, the second part of “Midnight Sonata”. Backed by a softened drum beat, a duet between the upright bass and the cello leads the music into a phase of remembrance and warmth, which provides fireworks of a different kind, because the music is so sublime. Mountainous chords and more heavy-handed drums increase the music’s intensity, and ghostly gasps make it more haunting, but a crystalline guitar melody seizes attention with its sparkling tones and beautiful feeling of wonder and wistfulness.

When that melody briefly vanishes, the music begins taking a much darker turn, leading into the final part, “Always Return”. That melody surfaces again, but craggy chords, abyssal gutturals, and a mournful cello arpeggio bring the music into the gloom of desolation — only to have tenor vocals soar in a way that lifts up the heart.

“Midnight Sonata”, in all its phases, is completely enthralling, and so is the rest of the album. Intaglio continue to create ebbs and flows of intensity and changes in mood, using the classical instruments and varying voices to great effect. Along with the cavern-deep vocals and the heavy metal instrumentation, they lead the music into phases of harrowing hopelessness, wretchedness, and regret, but also periods of yearning, fond remembrance, awe, and even delight.

It should be noted that the classical instruments and voices aren’t used as occasional accents, but are a continuing and vital part of the experience, fully integrated in everything that happens. It should also be noted that drumming always seems perfectly attuned to these changes, and becomes more than a mere rhythmic backdrop.

The path of the album is carefully plotted, sometimes ornate and elaborate, and at other times relatively stripped-down and simply crushing or jolting. It’s produced in a way that provides clarity and separation, enabling the listener to identify all the contrasting and complementary pieces of this rich musical tapestry as it’s being woven, even if the full picture doesn’t fall into place except gradually.

Author: Islander
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Intaglio CD Bundle

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