Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Children of Maani - The Veil of Osiris (1998)

EP, Velvet Music International

Genre: Black Metal
Region: France

I've been meaning to get this up here for a while. This is a true gem brought to you by Vindsval, the man behind that jarring blackened mass Blut Aus Nord. I actually enjoy this more than any full album by Blut Aus Nord honestly. Do not judge this album by the cover art alone as you would be making a serious mistake and end up passing over a fantastic, little known EP by this defunct side project.

The Veil of Osiris is four tracks of melodic black metal bursting with absolutely creative, powerful writing and musicianship in all aspects: solos that are truly epic and memorable without sweeping wankery, snaking and soaring riffs in a unique guitar tone, face blasting drumming, a big low end, subtle use of keys, and a vocal style shifting from occasional gravelly roars to strained rasps/screams.

"Tradition: The Birth" sets the pace perfectly with quick repeating serpentine tremolo riffs that build to a short bridge and the first excellent solo: technical and graceful with a rhythm section accompanying it that is just as strong. This is the basic formula followed throughout the EP and it gets progressively better each song. There are moments of slow and chunky riffs as shown in the next track immediately which shows off the tamer melodic side, before dropping into blast beats and more quick winding riffs, a short ambient section and then ending with another shredding solo.

The final two tracks are by far my favorites. "Tiphareth" shows off the perfect balance between fury and melody with ugly vocals over the harmonious guitars and a touch of keyboards. At 2:20 the best solo on the album kicks in. It's damn beautiful, with a crushing rhythm underneath — when the tapping starts I get chills. This is the section that sticks out in my mind when I recall this album. A brief bridge follows but the final riff is carried from the tail end of the solo.

"My Birth" does not have a solo and is the slowest on the album but again displays a perfect combination of all elements. The two primary riffs here are disgustingly addictive and extend throughout the song, probably the best riffs on the album. The two guitars are playing almost identically but with a slight variation sometimes. Once these pass a slower section follows that has a slight keyboard backing reinforcing the melody, it circles itself for a while before hitting those previous sweet riffs again and ends with some slight tapping and a slow fade.

Quite possibly one of the best black metal EPs out there to be honest, holding its ground more than a decade since its release. Crisp, mesmerizing, well written, unique, powerful. How one man pulled this off and dropped it afterwards I just don't understand. I cannot express how addicting this is (I listened to it 3 times while writing this) and I highly recommend it.

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