SIGNS OF DARKNESS, The Fall of Amen (2008, Shiver)
It’s, like, a metaphor. The mind IS a maze, a labyrinth of thought! Except it’s, um, a really simple maze, like the kind on the back of the kids’ menu at a shitty restaurant. “Here ya go, Jimmy. Why don’t you plumb the depths of human psychology while we wait for your chicken fingers to come out. We’ll ask the server to bring you some crayons. While you’re at it, why not take a crack at the Puzzler: ‘What does a mazy skull have to do with the fall of amen?’ Huh. That’s a little weird. Well, whatever. Here are the crayons. Maybe draw a mustache on him.”
Pitched somewhere between black metal and melodic death metal (though leaning toward the former), Signs of Darkness occupy a weird grey zone. There’s no mystery to their music, nor any menace, which renders their black metal a little toothless, and they’re not quite catchy enough to be much fun as an MDM band. They don’t do anything badly, though, it’s just that tonally it’s a little hard to say what they’re shooting for. As a kind of easy-listening black metal experience they’re fine, a way to ease into the genre if you like the more abrasive elements of, say, early Dark Tranquillity, but haven’t quite come around on black metal. But then, who in that situation is going to seek out an obscure Belgian band? Why not start with Sacramentum or something like that? I feel a little bad busting on Signs of Darkness, because they’re eminently listenable and totally pro, and will appeal to people who already own a lot of music like this and enjoy the novelty of new bands, people who don’t always demand originality but require competence. I certainly own a lot of music in that vein, but not in this style, because what I have is enough. For you, maybe that’s not the case.
— Friar Johnsen