Cadaveria – Far Away From Conformity
24/03/2004 § Leave a comment
The first time I put this in the CD player I felt like I was about to be murdered. Far Away From Conformity kicks off like a mule that’s had a truckload of coffee. There’s no teasing you in gently, no soft intro, no calm before the ensuing tempest, it’s like someone waking you up by sticking a roman candle in your ear.
The Shadow’s Madame was a warm, almost melodic pastiche of black and gothic metal, however, this time round Cadaveria have made no bones and cut no corners with the kind of stuff they want to play. This is a band that are no longer creeping along gingerly in the wake of Opera IX, but who now seem to be screaming, “we’re going to play horrible, nasty, mechanical, edgy, gritty, die-hard horror metal and if you don’t like it you can fuck off and die. Yeeaaarggghh!!!” What a philosophy, but what a result. I was almost scared of this album the first few times I played it, but loving Cadaveria as I do, I was determined to work outside of my comfort zone and let myself be sucked in even further by its sensuality in spite of the fact that the album cover and my first impression of the music seemed to say pain, pain death and more pain.
Far Away From Conformity is certainly a step beyond The Shadow’s Madame. I thought things couldn’t get any heavier, or nastier, but I was wrong. However, Cadaveria have also thrown a little bit more variety into the mix, there are more tempo changes than before, more clean vocals than before, and even the odd bit of acoustic guitar [a nice gesture, but a little unconvincing]. In fact, there are so many tempo changes that it’s a bad idea to stay comfortable with the same line of music for too long. The first track, Blood and Confusion, is a ruthless rhino of a metal song, charging into you and pummelling you into a pulp with it’s heavy guitars and vocal screeches, though changing pace a couple of times and including some nice, almost rocky riffs. Eleven Three O Three moves similarly, taking off like a rocket, crash landing and taking off again before exploding in a violent shower of power chords at the end. Divine Rapture is probably the most eerie track on the album, with Cadaveria’s clean vocals hissing and bending snakelike round each other in the midsection and a glorious slow, heavy change of pace at the end. And that’s pretty much the theme of the album. All this and a cover of Blondie’s Call Me, for whatever reason, which unfortunately doesn’t do much for the original or for Cadaveria.
Something else got me by surprise here – I’m not normally one to notice the lyrics on an album, but occasionally I can’t help be impressed. I thought that given the structure and power of the songs, the lyrics wouldn’t be anything but angsty growls at ‘society’, but I was mistaken. Certain lines really proved me wrong, such as “bewitched by the eternal rhythm of divine breath, perverse he smiled to the prickly knock of rain drops…transfixed by an absolute lightning of freedom, he freed himself in an uncensored dance” and “feed on this embrace with love, respect and hope…entwine in a sacred knot the shining wefts of this harmonious desire…so that it can preserve itself and vibrate forever in magnificent poetry”. Cadaveria seem to have a lot to say, albeit about black magic, witchcraft and Satanism, and as a result I think a lot of this would go above most of our heads, but the poetry and sometimes the beauty of the words are in stark contrast to the gritty harshness with which they’re delivered, which makes it all the more alluring. Far away from conformity indeed. This was not the direction I expected Cadaveria to go in. I expected their next album to be something melodic but dark and something with more accessible riffs than the full-on, uncompromising guitar-fest that this is. Also, whatever Gothic elements were on The Shadow’s Madame have completely vanished from this album. Instead, Cadaveria have fused black and death metal here beautifully, and the result if undoubtedly striking.
This is one of those albums that, if you’re more into the Gothic side of things, you might really have to depart from your own preconceptions to enjoy. Sure, for some of you, the heaviness of this album might attack the very core of your essences to the point where you feel seriously ill, but those who actually go the distance will certainly not be disappointed by the myriad of dark delights on offer here. Don’t be dismayed, this is a seriously sinister album – a harsh, abrasive, undiluted solvent of heavy metal, ripe for abuse to your own detriment – but it’s scary how enjoyable it is. One of the best deals so far this year.