Released: 2017, Seance Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Australia's pretty damn good at unearthing some gems when it comes to rock and metal. For decades now, the land Down Under has produced a number of great acts that have written long in the annals of metal history. So what of IGNIS GEHENNA?
Originally a duo, IGNIS GEHENNA become the Nihilifer show shortly after the release of debut EP “Revelations Of Sinister Birth” and has slowly burnt to this, their debut album, “Baleful Scarlet Star”. It's a typically-Satanic affair, with blasts aplenty and ringing arpeggio chord progressions for fun – fans of WATAIN would feel right at home with this offering. Nihilifer's gritty vocals add a certain rawness to the din of fuzzy, flurrying guitars and metronomic drums, which enhances the album's personality somewhat.
Where black metal can often fall flat, is an over-reliance on the two mainstays: blasts and atmosphere. Whilst “Baleful Scarlet Star” has both in abundance, and a production somewhat similar to countrymen BEYOND TERROR BEYOND GRACE's last outing “Nadir”, Nihilifer's presence and delivery hints at a genuine love for his craft and it is oddly infectious. The title track is black metal 1-0-1, whilst “Litany Unto Thanateros” meanders and lashes out like a paranoid schizophrenic in musica yet that consistent impassioned vocal performance threads it all together.
Whilst it can feel a little like tracks pass by, where “Baleful Scarlet Star” excels is in the use of the slower and, arguably, more melodious passages. The opening passage to “Melas Oneiroi” is simply sublime, whilst the middle third of instrumental closer “Anamnesis” sparkles with a malevolence that sounds superb. Yes, the whole choral arpeggio bit is stock black metal, but those little hints at something more melodic and emotive hook you like a goat for ritualistic slaughter.
Atmosphere? Check. Blasts? Check. Vocal malevolence. Yup. Whilst IGNIS GEHENNA haven't reinvented black metal with “Baleful Scarlet Star”, it will appease any fan of black metal's more discerning peers. Dark, cold and just a touch evil – it's black metal.
Review by: Lee Carter