Next review: » Enochian Crescent - Black Church
Released: 2006, Woodcut Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
The first question is: Who let these vicious, disgusting, weird-looking chalk-faced beasts out...?! Enochian Crescent, this Finnish five-headed Black Metal monster, have returned back to their original record label, Woodcut Records, and recorded their 3rd full-lenght album - and probably their most ambitious record to this very date, titled BLACK CHURCH. First off, let the band´s bassist and lyricist Cantor Dr. von Pfosforus explain the concept of the album a little bit: "The Black Church wasn´t built by human hands, it built itself, the inspiration of ours proving to be not ours at all but rather those of an unknown entity channeled while working for it. As if it had always been there, waiting for eager persons to lend it hands for it to manifest itself. What had we imagined and created was but the blueprints or models to a form and voice emerging within and around a scaffolding. Perhaps it has something to do with working so freely but vigorously under the flag of Omega we´ve carried with us so many years...". And he continues: "Theme of the album can be described as hidden knowledge blessing on alchemical marriage where the destructive forces of creation are wed with the experience of holy. This peculiar amalgam of spiritual strenght and religious rebellion supports the musical agenda of the album to perfection". Sounds interesting yet somewhat disturbingly spooky at the same time, doesn´t it?
It´s been nearly 6 long years since Enochian Crescent´s 2nd long-player, OMEGA TELOCVOVIM, was released through the Italian Avantgarde Music in 2000, so it was about to get a new album from these grim-looking and sounding Finnish blacksters. With a renewed line-up, Enochian Crescent have created such a Black Metal album that not only is highly original and unique content-wise, but also one of the better albums I´ve heard from this particular genre for a long time that really catches the interest of a listener both by its musical - as well as lyrical approach - and, to be honest, quite effortlessly even. What really lifts Enochian Crescent out of the big carbon-black package, is the way how they seem to set certain standards for themselves by not limiting their sound too much to some certain, already existing and standardized moulds, but rather letting their sound wander around and progress quite freely into different directions - and yet still kind of keeping in their minds that Black Metal is that thing what they can do best. Are you still following me; or do you already feel being completely lost? Either way, some musical boundaries have been shattered and crushed down on BLACK CHURCH more than on ´yer-ordinary-Black-Metal-album´ which is a great thing about this release. The whole album has been possessed by this captivatingly eerie and twisted atmosphere that brings in its own special feeling for the wholeness, and gives Enochian Crescent more credit as a band that has kind of refused to take things for granted. The band´s bald head priest of all evilness, alias Sister Wrath, is one of the most original Black Metal vocalist out there nowadays with his dead-dry, cutting articulation which at one time sounds like he could be mentally badly disturbed after for some heavy electric shock treatments - and other time he sounds like he could be just mocking Black Metal vocalism in general by conjuring up a large scale of different ´voices´ that are out of this planet and not human-made at all. The rest of the disciples of hatred and malice in Enochian Crescent do their share very well in terms of supporting the band´s vision about how unique Black Metal can sound at best and most enjoyable when every single detail has been taken care of at the early stage of the song writing process already. Failing in writing even one half-pleasing song for BLACK CHURCH, has been out of question for the Enochian Crescent -legion; striving for an absolute perfection is what they have been after for when BLACK CHURCH has gotten its final shape in the studio environment.
For a Black Metal record, BLACK CHURCH is somewhat a perfect release, supported a huge amount of uniqueness and genuine attempts to make it stand out as its own individual Black Metal record amongst from this very genre. And o´ my dear, raped Holy Mary, with a record like this in their hands, it must be great to celebrate Enochian Crescent´s 11th anniversary. Top-notch Black Metal release.
02. Tango Absinto
03. Chalk Face
04. Thousand Shadows
05. Ghost of Saturn
06. The Imperfect Vision
08. Tridents Clash
09. Black Church
Sister Wrath - Siren wail, spirit inhale
Brother Chaplain Victor - Guitars, vespers
Deacon Mathias - Guitars
Cantor Dr. von Pfosforus - Bass, roar
Bishop B. Bolton - Drums
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Next review: » Enochian Crescent - NEF.VI.LIM (EP)
Released: 2006, Woodcut Records
Reviewer: Gabriel C. Zolman
What is it with all of these reunions, comebacks, etc.? First, Kampfar wows us with their spectacular seven-years-after comeback, KVASS, and now…Enochian Crescent—-a band sorely missed by more than a few of us-—get the seven year itch, as well. And boy, is this one scratchy.
Elements of this are going to through old fans for a loop, while positively delighting others. Compositionally speaking, it may be the band’s most mature effort…but is it Black Metal? That’s a far more difficult question to answer. At times leaning closer to the organized chaos of an Akercocke or IX: EQUILIBRIUM-era Emperor (minus the keyboards) in its full-on fusion of Death Metalish elements with unabashedly Black Metal viscera, it’s a record so utterly dense and baffling, that it not so much transcends genres as pulls the odd one up, knocks it down, and shits on its chest.
This is not to say there are no recognizable moments: “Chalk Face” reminds one at times of Khold; bands like Satyricon and Gorgoroth are clearly in the bands’ collective I-Pods. But what commands the majority of the listeners’ fickle attentions, though to a lesser extent than with the last LP, are the nearly symphonic ambience of the composition…which is achieved, once more, entirely without keyboards or any actual orchestral arrangements. Enochian Crescent are, and have always been, masters of atmosphere-—and this is still very much the case (“Thousand Shadows,” for instance). The war-like swagger of “Tridents Clash” produces an ambience drunk with the promise of conflict. This, like “Tango Absinto,” represents a special set of peaks and arches within the recording wherein all of the experimentation comes to fruition. Otherwise, the album—while certainly proficient—leaves one with the feeling that it may all come dangerously unhinged at any moment.
If there is an Achilles Heel here, it is the vocals, which are somewhere between Tomas Lindberg and Cobra Commander from the old GI Joe cartoon. The vocalist’s high-pitch rasps and shrieks often detract from one’s ability to take this album’s potentially more haunting moments seriously. Lyrically and thematically as obtuse as ever, the ecclesiastical presentation works here: In the end, this is one Church that devout Black Metal aficionados will immediately wish to burn...to their hard drives, that is.
Highlights: “Tango Absinto,” “Thousand Shadows,” “Tridents Clash.”
2. Tango Absinto
3. Chalk Face
4. Thousand Shadows
5. Ghost Of Saturn
6. The Imperfect Vision
8. Tridents Clash
9. Black Church
Drakh Wrath (Janne Kuru) - Vocals
Victor Floghdraki (Karri Suoraniemi) - Guitar, Vocals
Mathias Pharmacist - Guitar
Dr von Pfosforus (Mika A.A. Hyytinen) - Bass, Vocals
Black Vomit Bolton - Drums
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