Quintessence Mystica doesn’t much surprise on their debut album The 5th Harmonic of Death, comprising 11 tracks of symphonic black metal in a dry, crispy production. Musically, nothing out of the ordinary is provided, so that the album falls to the category of rather unremarkable melodic black metal records, unfortunately.
Melodies are always upfront here, usually consisting of various orchestral instruments instead of guitars - albeit some guitar solos appear for sure. The most I like the violins played on the record, they sound dusty and evil, like an old movie of which sounds were horribly gone wrong. This creates a nice vibe. But otherwise, it’s mostly basic synth tracks dominating the songs, being somewhat cheesy and powerless: indeed, almost nothing heavy is to be expected of the album as it’s so melodic. Removing the harsh screams, tremolo guitar picking and the rapid (programmed) drums would create a classical album of some sort, I guess.
Not to criticize the album with too heavy hand, The 5th Harmonic of Death has its moments, e.g. the epic album ending track ”Frankenwald Mystery” and various melody patterns that appear throughout the 43-minute album. But is it enough? For a rememberable album, no. But for a decent effort of quite basic symphonic black metal that satisfies the needs of the most devoted meloblack listeners, yes, I would suppose so. Another album is already in the making and here’s to hoping that it brings some fresh air to the composition department. On a positive side, I can mention that I’ve heard a lot worse album from this category lately (Conspiracy’s Irremediable), so that compensates a bit for Quintessence Mystica’s benefit.