Thee Orakle - Smooth Comfort FalseThee Orakle – yes, its not the greatest name, but let’s not worry about that – are a progressive death/gothic metal band from Portugal and “Smooth Comforts False” is their second album.

Opener “Faraway Embrace” has an excellent, meaty riff to start with but seems in an unnatural hurry to bury it under everything else. Thee Orakle mix the throaty death vocals of Pedro Silva with pretty female singing, in English, by Micaela Cardoso. The contrast seems to work fine although I have to confess I don’t really see the point of singing nicely in the death metal genre.

Second track has another good riff and then the two vocalists come to the fore once more. Towards the end of the track we get some trumpet, not an instrument that crops up very often in metal.

“Mysterious Hours” does much the same. Its perfectly fine without being memorable.

“Foretoken” is a less than two minute instrumental piece. Its well played, as everything on this album is.

“Evil Dreams” starts moodily before the riff and the growly vocals kick in. Then we get a jazzy section and I make no apologies for believing that jazz has no place in metal. It just seems like musicians showing off a bit and simply distracts from the riffs, which is what metal is all about. Nevertheless, its an interesting five or six minutes even if it doesn’t quite all fit together.

“Winter Threat” doesn’t really do anything much other than confirm that Micaela Cardoso is a fine singer.

The last three tracks continue in the same vein without knocking your socks off. “Rescue Of Mind” features saxophone in another jazzy moment.

As is the case with many fairly unknown metal bands, the playing, the production and the mix is remarkably good so “Smooth Comforts False” stands up well in its particular genre even if I think the songwriting could be stronger.

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