Reviewed: July 2014
Released: July, Self Released
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Following on from the release of first EP: Genocide (2012) and a very successful year of touring, UK black metal outfit Premature Birth return with their second EP: A CEREMONY OF POWER. Anyone unfamiliar with their work would assume the group to be some kind of slam death metal/pornogrind act with their name, but Premature Birth prove us all wrong with their unique fusion of raw and symphonic black metal.
Opening track ‘A Ceremony of Power’ sounds similar to Taake and vocalist Dev delivering vocals akin to Mortuus from Marduk. We have before us a mesh of extremities with groovy chord progressions and shredding, along with very fast tempo blast beats that hit you when you least expect them. The keys are far more prominent than on previous releases, and how the track shifts from the raw to the melodic and symphonic made me picture the group as what Cradle of Filth would have become; had they ditched their pantomime image and kept in the shadows of their ‘Principle of Evil…’ days.
A ghostly edge is delivered with the piano on second track ‘Revelation’, giving the song a gothic vibe. The vocals order the listener to kill themselves at the very beginning, which reveals the band’s love of DSBM. As this is a very fast paced track with lyrical topics that would make Nostalgie and Forgotten Tomb feel at home, Premature Birth have set themselves apart from the rest of the London Black Metal scene with their angrier and bloodcurdling take on suicide and depression. I could also hear melodies similar to Eibon La Furies as the track progressed and it eventually painted a mental picture of a 19th century séance being conducted by a backstreet occultist. That feeling alone, told me that Premature Birth know the image of 21st century black metal very well and have melded together enough of it to come back with something very pleasing.
Riffs akin to Immortal can be found on ‘War Against the Filth’, as well as lashings of Gorgoroth and Dark Funeral by how nicely arranged the guitars and technical blast beats are. The vocals again cover themes of misanthropy and hate, putting the band on the map as one of the angriest sounds to grace the labyrinth that is the London extreme metal circuit. A very pleasing and memorable piece.
And finally, ‘Watching the World Crumble’ features vocalist Dev at his finest with how he is able to hold onto a scream for a long time. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had taken inspiration from fellow vocalist Elliot Beaver of Hecate Enthroned to master such an onslaught. Drummer Adam opens with militant drumming before guitarist Billy takes us all by surprise. I was also impressed by the fitting backing vocals from bassist Simon who helped forge the band’s misanthropic agenda in its most putrid guise.
In all, Prematue Birth have shown potential since they appeared, and it now seems they’ve finally come into their own. I congratulate them for taking very slow and atmospheric themes from the DSBM world and putting them to riffs that would please the wider audiences of UK black metal. This is one very talented group who are not afraid to shy away from experimentation with keyboardist Vicki, and compared to their earlier work, this band have matured far more than expected. I expect this band will be around for a very long time and I look forward to hearing what they’ll do next.
Review by Demitri Levantis
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