Intaglio – II

Apart from the anomaly represented by the Voy (Вой) album, which came to light almost twenty years after its creation, the first full length of funeral doom released in Russia was the self-titled Intaglio album in 2005 – anticipating by a month Comatose Vigil’s Not A Gleam Of Hope – even if the leading bands of the movement became other bands since that work remained without a follow-up for over a decade. On the other hand, one of the other elements that have contributed to the cult status of the band from Orel is the fact that they are the musical creation of Evgeny Semenov, who would later mark the history of extreme doom with Solitude Productions, the record label with which funeral death doom is most identified today. First the release of the single The Memory of Death in 2019 and the year after the revised re-release of the debut work paved the way for the long-awaited second full length, simply titled II. Intaglio do not have the solemn and dramatic sense of melody of Comatose Vigil nor the peculiar and sometimes dissonant sounds of Who Dies In Siberian Slush and, now as then, are authors of a funeral well executed and polished, made melancholic by an excellent use of strings, but open more airy solutions especially when the various guests express themselves with evocative clean or lyrical tones, as an alternative to the always effective growl lent by Evander Sinque of Who Dies In Siberian Slush. II is a work of good thickness but it is not the masterpiece that maybe someone hoped for, despite its impeccable pace and the care put by Semenov in all details, including the artwork entrusted to a prominent name like Mariusz Lewandowski. Personally, I don’t think there are any weak or disappointing tracks, but the work gives the feeling of lacking in cohesion, as if the different tracks were composed in a very long period of time – after all, such a long recording hiatus supports this hypothesis – so that episodes with a more evocative approach alternate with others that present flashes of canonical funeral, or classical or post-metal digressions. In any case, it’s the two tracks released as singles (besides the aforementioned The Memory of Death, the album was also preceded by Subject To Time) that stand out in the context, thanks to those cues charged with a melancholic feeling capable of making the difference. Anyone can easily guess, at every single juncture, that the work of Intaglio is produced by someone who knows the dynamics and every fold of this stylistic field very well, and all this turns out to be functional to the proposal of a satisfactory album, useful to confirm the historical relevance of the band in the history of the subgenre in the country, even without counting essential content. In any case, Evgeny has already earned his place in the Pantheon of funeral death doom for the incessant and meritorious work of dissemination of the sounds that we love most thanks to the label that manages for over fifteen years with passion and professionalism.

2021 – Solitude Productions