It's quite often when you get your hands to releases that really have something to say, and then you have to reconsider some of the stereotypes you have, and see things in a different perspective. The case of Sear Bliss is one of those, with the band existing since 1993, but never being established as the big name, or one of the first bands that comes in mind when something thinks of Black Metal. Although all those years we have heard various stuff, the guys here managed to gain our full attention right from the first moment. The most important, and the thing that draws the attention first, is the atmosphere of the album. Without moving on supersonic speeds, they manage to create an dark and suffocating atmosphere, imagine something like the feeling of the still air on a swamp. To achieve this, the vocals are sometimes slow and ritualistic, sometimes screaming, sometimes like coming from a well, but there are also enough melodies from keyboards and guitars. Besides the atmosphere, another thing that catches the ear is the clever use of the trumpet, an instrument not used in Metal in general, but used in such a way here, that fits perfectly, if not enhancing the whole result. The songs are very good, with enough ideas, excellent musicianship and more than enough variety for everyone. The production is very good also, clear as should be, but still preserving the melancholic feeling of the music. As a result we have a release that moves on high standards, and will please the fans of the band. Carefully written music, with lot's of surprises, and enough things to discover if you listen to it several times. Not exactly the kind of Black Metal you have in mind, but still an album with amazing atmosphere, that many bands that can play three times faster can only dream of.