Baptism’s fourth full-length leaves me with mixed / indifferent emotions: I do enjoy parts of it but there are also passages that I definitely don’t like and, alas, it bores me more and more each time I listen to it. Shame, really, because this is a great label, decent band (one that I should probably be supporting…) and the record is professionally presented.

Lord Sargofagian historically straddles a fine and treacherous line between rawness and melody (and I enjoyed his previous efforts) but, on this album, I fear he has ventured too far in the latter direction. There’s too much melody on ‘As The Darkness Enters’ and, even though it’s not a complete dud (far from it), this release is marred by the sickening niceness of songs like ‘The Prayer’ and – to a lesser extent – ‘Esoteric Spheres’, the former of which contains a couple of verses of truly cringe-worthy clean vocals.

All in all, to my ears, ‘As The Darkness Enters’ sounds more like Dimmu Borgir or Kampfar than I’m comfortable with. Even though the album is essentially reasonably good, I prefer Black Metal to be angry, crude, aggressive and more patently of the underground. Too much harmony on this one; it may be more subtle to some ears than what I’m detecting (I’m very sensitive to these things and possibly being overly-critical here), but it’s nonetheless very disappointing.

If you fancy some melancholic, sedate, laid-back, inoffensive, mid-paced Black Metal laced / loaded with nice melodies, look no further. But I won’t be delving any deeper into this one.

Evilometer: 222/666