Their twenty twelve debut, The Dragon Lineage of Satan
, was a brutal affair that was backed up with a wicked ambience. It sounded something like Gorgoroth
crossed with Xasthur
. Then their twenty fourteen sophomore album, The Infernal Hierarchies, Penetrating the Threshold of Night
, rocked out with some powerful rhythms in a dark and epic strain of black metal. It came across comparable to Svartsyn
is their third album in six years, which shows that they are a hardworking band. They have been loyal to Moribund
Records, which is based in Washington state and deals mostly with black and death metal artists from around the world. This recent release comes in a jewel case and the album art shows a dark depiction of a devil figure. When you pull out the disc, then you can see a small collage of photos, within the bounds of a demon head shape. The inner pages of the booklet show the lyrics and the band’s dimly lit photo is on the back page.
The first song, Dark Templar
, begins with a minute of devil voices and distorted sound effects. Then the hard driving guitar riffs take over and are pushed forward with powerful bass lines. The drums are beaten fast with vicious flurries, as the vocalist angrily growls out his depraved messages. “Spilling blood brought the shadow to life!” “Shadow
of dread, the grim corruptor.” Soon the textures transform into a hypnotic soundscape, similar to the style of the French avant-garde artists of black metal. At the last minute the tempo speeds up with an epic arrangement. “Called forth from maelstrom, dark templar kills god.” Thoth
Atlantean has a coarse and throaty yelling voice, with suspended lilts. His dark vocals are growled out with haunting hang time, in gruesome deliveries, like a peek into the dimension of the dead. He mixes it up between coarse and more diabolical pitches, bringing it down to a guttural level. There is a lot of rage and some ugly grim choruses come in from time to time.
usually plays the guitar with aggressive grinding riffs, in a stop and go arrangement, to share the focus with the other performers. He plays explosive yet primitive hooks and high throttle licks with excessive force. There is plenty of high note shredding and dark tremolo picking, using European textures. As well as macabre melodies, that set the mood for these black metal schemes. The fourth track, Hag and the Sleeper, marches forth with melodic riff shifting. Then there are chaotic interludes with surreal textures, that are similar to Aosoth
bellows out his lines with an angry vocal strain. “Calling a name unspoken, wake in the night of terror.” “Dabbling into hidden knowledge, parasite became host.” The drums are struck hard with shifty beat tone patterns. About halfway in there is a brutal guitar solo, which is accompanied with fast bass licks.
The eighth number, Eternal
Keeper of the Black Flame
, runs with an ugly rhythm played at a fast tempo like Mor Dagor
. The bass music steadily chops at mid range, while the guitar provides a wicked ambience. The drummer frantically rattles along in harsh cadence. The vocalist viciously yells out his lyrics with a throaty presentation. “Mighty call of Apolyon, crucible of the zodiac.” “Chalice
of the gods, eucharist of the black.” Then the rhythm transforms into a nightmarish texture, with a hesitation between bass chops. “Devil
, Jinn, cloaked by the winds of hades.” “The refuge of the apostate Apolyon, Abaddon
also performs the bass music on this album. His powerful driving bolsters the guitar music with fast mid range riff shifting and heavy notes at the lower end. He adds dynamic strength with relentless pumping and sudden time changes, for a warped and twisted effect.
TJ Prazer is a very active drummer, at times with a typewriter velocity. There are plenty of snare drum flare ups, with relentless energy. He plays like a thrash drummer with hard pounding at a speedy pace, using mixed beat tone patterns and striking variations. There isn’t much use of the cymbals, although it sometimes appears to enhance the higher notes from the stringed instruments. The final offering, Enigmata
of Erebus, starts with some spooky wind blowing and backwards musical effects for about two minutes. Then it breaks out with rough guitar grinding and swiftly played bass rhythms. The drummer follows suit with rapid shuffling designs, while the vocalist grimly growls out his lines. “Night
!” “Celestial necropolis, sanctums of burning souls.” “Vortex
of flame, beyond the veil of divinity.” Halfway in it changes into a chaotic texture, with the aesthetic of a bad dream.
is a diabolical and spooky album, like a visit to the underworld. Yet this isn’t some slow paced melancholic black metal. It’s a fast and aggressive assault, with something to prove. There is plenty of high throttled intensity and vicious hostility. Some songs have the elegant style of European black metal, as malicious and dark as it comes. They demonstrate a very good balance of guitar grinding, hyperactive bass notes, steady drum pounding and dreadful hollering vocals. Within fifty minutes there is scarcely a dull moment. Out
of eleven tracks only one is slower and it’s a wicked black metal ballad. But some of these songs sound alike, with the same dynamic structures. Aside from album art, this is their most brutal and depraved album yet. With each album they have always experimented with various black metal influences. Enigmata
comes across with a sound like Mor Dagor
. It’s a notch better than The Dragon Lineage of Satan
and about two notches above The Infernal
Hierarchies, Penetrating the Threshold
of the Night