the artwork on this release is very good ('nice' doesn't seem like the right word!) - it's a very grey image that doesn't quite suit the title but does include the ridiculously hard to read band logo synonymous with black metal bands and the obligatory inverted cross.
"rituals for the dead" is the opening track and its ok. its an instrumental that has been well played and mixed well and has some interesting sounds; its a little long and a little sparse but is a nice opener.
confusingly "rituals for the dead" continues to play into track two "the dead may die"; it lies submerged beneath average guitar work. the vocals are mixed quite low and the drumming is quite loud in comparison over the weak vocal performance. "rituals" stops part way through then starts up again making the song sound muddy in places.
"the light never return" is the longest of the five tracks; again the vocals are mixed low. the drumming is a little basic and quite loud in the mix - the constant high hats ends up sounding like a hiss of static; the instrumental opening of the song plays under the track and is a bit hypnotic.
"the forest of the dead" is on its way to being my favourite song - i feel like i know what SE have tried to do but they haven't quite managed. the drum sounds like the previous song, the vocals, once again, mixed a little low and the opening of the track once again is played under the bulk of the guitar chords. this makes the song too complex and everything clashes - to me, there is quiet guitar where there could be synth work and too much where there should be none.
"outro" is the closing track and a continuation of "the forest of the dead" - the rain is mixed a little loud (to me) at the start where perhaps the hypnotic song should be louder; this is a nice closer.
overall this is an album full of ideas but they haven't always worked. SE have tried to link all of the songs together by having elements of previous tracks merge into the next but the end result hasn't quite been realised. its not just a case of fixing the levels its finding the right place for the right part. as a whole the album is quite slow for black metal with uncomplicated drums, nice guitar tonality and interesting instrumentals but the vocals are mixed too low and aren't powerful enough to fight through the clash of sounds.
in the year or so between "rituals for the dead" and "path of shadows" Sinful Eternity definitely spent time learning their craft and experimented; a little bird told me that they're working on their next release and i cannot wait to hear it. i recommend both albums as it is interesting to hear the progression and, as a musician myself, hear the ideas behind their work.
Source - Funereal Drone