Released: 2014, Candlelight
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
With a band name like Eastern Front, it may not surprise anyone that their subject matter is war based, specifically WWII. Modern war and black metal have often walked hand in hand: rolling hulking masses of metal, the firing of machine gun rounds purveying mass murder, the grim surroundings acting as breeding grounds for death and decay, it really is the perfect subject matter for a genre fixated with hate and despair. Where Eastern Front really excel though is rather than simply being inspired by this, their sound emulates this hopelessness, every section is mimicking this bleak and unrelentingly grim history. Their concept of ‘war-torn black metal’ is lived up to in every sense of the word. There is however no glorification of war in this music, it is neither a celebration or a love of this endless destruction, simply a sonic account of its horrors.
Their highly successful debut album Blood on Snow released 2010 has already seen the band move from strength to strength, sharing the stage with major black metal acts Endstille and Pentagram in recent years. Despite its predecessor’s success, the latest album Decent into Genocide is certainly a worth follow-up album. Both follow the same themes and patterns, but the evolution from their old sound is evident. Decent into Genocide misses the rawness that was prevalent in Blood on Snow, but it does display a more mature sound from the band. The sections sit together with greater ease in this album, the themes and influences flowing seamlessly together.
One of the most noticeable differences is the extended acoustic parts present in the recent album. Katyn Forest opens with a deceptively gently with an acoustic passage while Die Reise in Den Tod pt.1 mixes military style snare rolls with a more reflective backing. These section pause the listener for a moment, provide a minute of thought between the mayhem acting as the perfect punctuation to highlight the sheer chaos we experience in Blitzfreeze, Decent into Genocide and Ghouls of Leningrad.
Decent into Genocide is as intense as it is reflective, as unrelentingly brutal as it is somber. The work behind this album is evident, their passion seeps through every note as each contrasting section runs seamlessly into the next. There may have been a four-year wait, but it’s been more than worth it, and this latest offering marks them out as one of the most exciting UK black metal bands on the scene to date.
Review by Caitlin Smith