Vermilion Eclipse by SemblantRelease date: April 15, 2022
Label: Frontiers Records
Tidal waving vibes of the fast machine gun fire from Sikora’s drum kit on the eruptive cannon blast opening on ‘Enrage’, this is a blistering volcanic start for Semblant to unleash their beauty and the beast sections of pure, symphonic death metal at its best. For nearly 17 years, this Brazilian sextet are like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.
Despite line-up changes, three studio albums in the can, one demo, and one EP, there’s no denying that the symphonic metal scene have something that’ll touch your heart with an enormous punch. Their fourth studio album and second one for the Frontiers label, Vermilion Escape is the band at their mega best with a musical force that’ll make you think something’s crawling behind you.
Their follow-up to 2020’s Obscura, Semblant have unleashed a monstrous beast, ready to raise hell like there’s no tomorrow. With Nakos’ cover work for the album, you can imagine the character as being the daughter or niece to comic book heroine Red Sonja, or Taarna from the 1981 adult-animated cult classic, Heavy Metal. But the enduring centrepieces on this boy, it’ll knock your ass out with a massive punch to your family jewels!
‘The Human Eclipse’ is an epic attack of losing control of their mind. You get a sense of their bodies shutting down as Riberio’s riff exchange, makes his guitar sound like a clock-ticking machine, going into a rapid interchange. Between him, Sikora, and Augusto, the song becomes a saddening section while Lin and Mazul details the tragic forms on the character by entering the arrangements of Amberian Dawn’s River of Tuoni.
From its ‘80s synth-like atmosphere, channeling both Talk Talk and Ultravox’s Vienna-era for the first couple of seconds, ‘The Neverending Fall’ transforms into a howling cry for help to the gods with a plea for help. Mizuho and Sergio witness the landscape and looking down at the battlefield in progress, and watching the emperor’s palace crumble in ruins.
They know that both the evilness and corruption behind lock doors are gone forever. But the aftermath from the protesters, will leave a giant scar behind their backs, for a long, long time. Then, Piper leads the charge in a gruesome attack on ‘Destiny in Curse’.
He hypnotises Mazul by transforming into a snarling cannibalistic beast, ready to eat more massive human flesh with his cookie-monster vocals. But just as he lands the first attack, you feel the earthquake on Earth’s crust between Riberio and Thor before it becomes an arpeggiated texture of rapid gunfire.
Over the horizon, ‘Heretic’ reveals the extension of more corruption in the religious sense of using their faith as an excuse to make their Church bigger, with a shit amount of money, and over-zealous preachers throwing their Sunday morning service believers, under the bus. There is one track that I wish that could have been 10 minutes instead of 3.
And that is ‘Bloodred Monarch (Legacy of Blood Pt VII)’. This is where they go into a harder edge of Pat Benatar’s In the Heat of the Night-era, using the styles of the song ‘Heartbreaker’ into the mix. You can tell that Semblant really did their homework, channeling the goddess, and tipping their hat to the queen of hard rock.
Brutal, edgier, and getting down to business, Semblant are quite a revelation to bring the essence of symphonic death metal at its core. And with Vermilion Eclipse, it is the speed demon release for 2022.