Of all the sub-genres of metal that are probably the most unique, diverse, and interesting out there, black metal has got the be the best for all three if I had to guess. So many subcategories to a subcategory, it has got so many different forms that it’s hard to pick a favorite if you like so much of it like I do, and sometimes it’s good to shake your regular dose up a bit with a different type of black metal. For me that would be symphonic black metal with Protean’s latest album “The Burning Centuries” is the right dose of change that I’ve been looking for.
The whole idea of symphonic metal is simple to me (just add keyboards to the normal mix), but for whatever reason symphonic black metal feels like so much more. Regular black is complex as it already is depending on the band, so the symphonic really brings in an extra taste to the mix that for me is welcome, and Protean have hit the nail right on the head with “The Burning Centuries”. It’s not just a simple set of keyboards that Protean have brought to their brand of black metal, oh no, they’ve gone so far as to add (for certain tracks) another set of drums, another set of guitars, and multiple sets of vocals. Then there’s the fact that “The Burning Centuries” has the capability to flip between a real black metal feel of being fast and intense to a more mellow and slow paced feel at the drop of a hat, and for me that shows that Protean have a great flexibility as a band that many others lack but these guys clearly have it in surplus. And with a run time of over 40 minutes long, “The Burning Centuries” is a journey that any fan of black metal with an open mind will truly have a good time with. Oh, and did I fail to mention this is a debut? Well, it is and that gives Protean plenty of credit as a band with some real possibilities, for me anyway.
By the end of the album, Protean show that they had an idea of what they wanted with “The Burning Centuries” and they made a fantastic album out of it. As a black metal fan myself, I can happily give this album an unholy thumbs up in absolute approval and I would be more than keen to see what these guys will do as a follow up, just out of curiosity.
LISTEN to “The Burning Centuries” on Bandcamp here.