Hermh – Eden’s Fire
Symphonic black metal is one of my least favorite kinds of metal, with possibly only symphonic power metal faring worse. However, Poland’s Hermh mostly avoids the “O Fortuna” pro wrestler fanfare that most of the genre seems like to me. Big keyboards lard up the mix, of course, but the guitars cut through with sharp tones and smart riffs. No such luck for the vocals, which feel merely functional.
Despite all this, the album is quite listenable, thanks to solid songwriting. I’ll also grudgingly admit that the keyboards get interesting when they drop the string presets for piano ones. “Eternalization” wakes up near its end with Enslaved-esque chords; “Fear of Blood” has cool vocal harmonies. Fans of Dimmu Borgir et al. should snap this up at Pagan or Red Stream.