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Semblant: Obscura
Semblant - Obscura Art Work

Semblant: Obscura

Melodic Power (Death) Metal
3.5/5.0

Formed better than 14 years ago, Semblant is the creation of two Brazilian musicians, singer Sergio Mazul and keyboardist J. Augusto. Despite a rocky beginning, the duo turned a significant corner in 2010 by hiring a female lead vocalist, Mizuho Lin, and dropping their debut album Last Night of Mortality. Yet larger, and international, recognition would come with their sophomore project, Lunar Manifesto, which featured three singles. Now Semblant hopes to increase their visibility with their new and third album, Obscura, on the Frontiers Music label.

Semblant Band - Click For Larger Image

Semblant

Here's another opportunity to keep a review brief, and get right to the important matters. Let's see how that works out. Prior to writing, I did my usual research. There are various sites on the Internet that call Semblant a Gothic metal band. I've never quite understood what "Gothic" means when attached to rock or metal music. Female vocalist? Not necessarily, but more than likely. Dark, foreboding, and forbidden lyrical themes? Why not. Sometimes symphonic? Maybe. Death gargling and growling? Sure, why not. Didn't Barnabas Collins growl in the Dark Shadows "Gothic" soap opera of yesteryear?

And with that last tidbit, we come to some understanding of Semblant's heavy metal. Essentially, the core of any Semblant song is the vocal arrangement where clean melodic female vocals are paired with male vocals, vocals that stretch from raw assertiveness to death growling. In the case of the latter vocal device, it's hard to say whether the male vocals are partners with the female vocals of simply embellishing back ups. Moving on then.

The Semblant musical formula is made complete when the vocal arrangements are wrapped in melodic, sometimes symphonic, power metal. Power metal which includes synth embellishments, necessary gallop and groove from the rhythm section, and some mighty guitar solos. Not unlike my conclusion to the latest from Novena, if I could subtract the male death vocals from any Semblant song, I would have enjoyed this album much more. Fundamentally, Ms Lin is a fine singer and, musically, Semblant delivers some very impressive and entertaining melodic power metal. Notable for the latter are the songs Murder Of Crows, The Hunter The Hunger, Daydream Tragedy, and Insomnia. Check out Semblant and support the band.


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The Bottom Line

Semblant's music formula is rather simple and consistent: clean melodic female vocals are paired with assertive to death growling male vocals, then wrapped up in some entertaining melodic power metal. Cheers for the latter. Not so much for the gnarly male vocals.

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