Released: July, Pitch Black Records
In the interest of full disclosure, I feel I should mention that I am not, nor have I ever been, a fan of black metal. I have enjoyed the occasional song or two from various bands, but as a whole I tend to disdain the genre. At first listen, I felt that Divine Authority Abolishment, the sophomore release from Greek black metallers Chained and Desperate, was going to be just another black metal album that would only appeal to the most die-hard of fans. I am, of course, willing to admit when I’m wrong.
While it’s true that Divine Authority Abolishment has a lot of the trappings of brutal, soul-crushing satanic black metal, there’s a layer of complexity underneath all of those guttural screams that I have slowly come to appreciate. The band is pitched as “melodic black metal” and compared to fellow countrymen Rotting Christ; that’s apparent on at least a few of the tracks. Even though the black metal screams make up the majority of the vocals on this album, there are plenty of more melodic, doomy vocals laced throughout the record. As a whole, the tempo of the album is mid-paced and rarely strays from its formula, but that works more-or-less to its advantage because the band seem to have finely honed their sound.
Missing from the album, for better or worse depending on who you ask, are the lightning-speed riffs and brain-bashing blast beats of more traditional black metal. Also missing, however, are the violins and various other orchestral elements commonly associated with “melodic black metal,” which serves to set the band apart from the likes of others in their genre. It’s refreshing to hear a sound that is somewhat unique even as it doesn’t really do anything new or innovative. The only downside is that the tracks tend to blend together as you listen to them; there’s not a lot of variety between the songs themselves, and the album is over before you know it.
Even if you’re not a black metal fan, it may be worth it to check out Divine Authority Abolishment just to get a sense of what the genre has to offer. Fans of the genre might be interested in the album as some good filler between releases from their other favorites, but even though Chained and Desperate have put forward a solid offering here, it’s unlikely to win anyone over as an instant favorite.