This Italian ensemble Encyclopedia Metallum just categorizes progressive metal but there’s so much black and death metal on "De Rervm Natvra" that they can be rightly called progressive black/death metal. The music oscillates somewhere between Opeth, Borknagar and Dimmu Borgir with that Arcturus’ "La Masquerade Infernale" avant-garde weirdness to boot. The songs are well-written for the most part but they tend to follow the same formula of slow elaborate, mostly acoustic beginnings which morph into powerful heavy epic riffing and melodies with exemplary leads, yet with only few tracks standing out from the pack.

The album starts with that sort of pompous annoying pointless intro typical of progressive work, but already "De Primordiis Rervm" fixes the problem (why couldn’t the intro just be part of it?) and showcases the ability of Gloria Zanotti (vocals), Matteo Salvarezza (guitars, vocals, programming), Leonardo Barcaroli (bass) and Emiliano Cantiano (drums) in a Symphony X meets Dream Theater fashion. There’s one track I exalted above all others (De Captionibvs Amoris) because it could almost be on Dimmu Borgir’s fantastic "Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia" album for the quality of songwriting in cohesion but the rest of the tracks lack this definition and direction, meandering, even if creatively, not as interestingly. They are rather congregations of interesting riffs and melodies than songs proper.

Now, Giuseppe Orlando production and the legendary Mika Jussila’s mix is pure gold, as are the performances of individual members. While I am no huge fan of male/female duets combined with long compositions (especially with everything sang and spoken in Italian, which, on the plus side, at times, adds creepiness to the atmosphere and the climate) I must commend particularly Matteo on his tasty guitar licks and solos (as scarce as the latter are) as well as Emilano’s unique and powerful drumming, especially in "De Infinitate Orbivm" and "De Formatione Orbis" to say nothing of blastbeats.

The album could use some serious cutting, especially the over 10 minute "De Primordiis Rervm". Listening to it I get an impression that with a little more austerity and discipline the Italians could have made their point across in 40 to 45 minutes with a much greater impact. Then again, except for the unique "Symphony Masses: Ho Drakon Ho Megas" (1993) Therion bores me to tears for their elaborate symphonic construction which tends to kill the momentum as soon as it’s established. Sadly, this is the case with Embrace Of Disharmony. This being their second full length in over 13 years of existence is not a crime but it shows.

"De Rervm Natvra" is a coat of many colors but they tend to bleed one into another and prolong the tracks into infinity which calls for scissors more often than not. Finally, the fact that the second half is more interesting is not good news for vinyl owners so go buy a CD, instead, and you’ll thank me later. Just kidding. Go buy whatever format you fancy but be forewarned that this is not easy listening metal and it requires all of your attention some may not be willing to pay.