MENTAL HOME — Vale (review)

MENTAL HOME — Vale album cover Album · 1998 · Death-Doom Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Charcaroth
Mental Home was one of the bands I'd always liked from the moment I heard them, and was hoping they'd go far. Each album is a little different, but each one maintains a backbone of ornate, emotional and epic doom metal, bearing a general similarity to "Clouds/Wildhoney" era Tiamat, and perhaps "For Funerals to Come" era Katatonia, but less bleak. (I haven't yet managed to hear the debut album.)

"Vale", is Mental Home's 'doomiest' album, incorporating a slightly 'blackened' feel, and a more active musical approach than most typical doom, ranging from a somewhat slow to midpaced tempo, with a few slightly faster moments.

The overall vibe is of doom however, and "Vale" is awash in a rich, somber yet beautiful atmosphere augmented by keyboardist Roman Poravov, and anchored by the showcase of Mental Home's sound, which is the beautiful, epic and emotional melodies and riffing of guitarist/vocalist Sergey D'mitriev. Mental Home was always good for some incredible riffing.

Though, Mental Home is not a perfect band, and there are a few issues. While atmospheric, in a raw (but not black metal-raw) sort of way, the production could be better. It has a dank, mystical tone, which works and augments the music, but it sounds as if this was simultaneously being used to mask the "low rent" nature of the recording. The sound could stand to be a bit more vivid. Sometimes the guitar melody leads are a bit muddied, and relegated to the background, and the drums are ever so slightly high in the mix for this kind of music. But in all, the overall sound hangs together reasonably well, considering, and doesn't actively detract from the music.

Performance wise, the band is often solid, but occasionally the rhythm section becomes a little loose in a few of the difficult passages, though not embarrassingly so. It doesn't seem to distract too badly from the main focus of the album, which is it's atmosphere and melody.

The songrwiting mainly does capitalize on the awesome, emotional riffing which is Mental Home's trademark, but sometimes there are moments on the album where things become a little too divergent from this strength, and the music often suffers for it. A few riffs here and there are simply uninteresting, and/or don't really fit the overall sound, feeling like unnecessary digressions.

Ultimately, "Vale" has the feel of one of those albums that, while imperfect, manages to thrive on it's strengths and surpass the sum of it's parts.

(I hope this review is okay, it was rushed.)
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UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Don´t worry about the rushed thing. I think it was a good review. it got me interested in the band and I´ve never heard of them before.

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