Released: 2013, Relapse Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Having crafted a distinctive sound of Blackened drone for the best part of the decade the band pulled out all the stops when spending the second half of 2012 cultivating a magnum opus record that is set to become the full realisation of the band’s vision and sound.
The album unfolds with the vibrant tone of ‘Eternal Return’ which comes with an instant kick. The snarling and somewhat ghastly vocals stir like an awakening beast that has arisen from some deep slumber, whilst the guitars and drum work propel the energetic tone forward. The subtle work of ‘A Visitation from the Wrath of Heaven’ meanders around without fully diving head first into a sea of chaotic waves as you may expect. Instead it keeps its momentum and vaguely scripted path intact without losing its edge. The drums remain consistently within its progression throughout guiding listeners through.
Meanwhile, the foreboding atmospheric sensation of ‘Exiting the Hall of Vapour and Light’ is one that will stay with you long after its departure. Laced with delicacies and a murkiness in its wake, the overall weight of the track is where the impact derives from. ‘Return to Annihilation’ comes with distant clean vocals that have a mournful vitality that is depicted in a bleak portrayal of desolation. The slower and almost Doom driven guitars add an extra layer of force in the delivery as the infernal raspy vocals sweep in with battle inducing drums and impressive lead guitar.
Closing off with the acoustic tendencies of ‘Obsolete Elegies’, slithers in waiting to pounce on your ears. The sonic driven passages reverberate an eerie sense of foreboding which is guided by the electronic layering as the guitars soars heavily into the mix. The final moments of the record disperse into ambient pool of darkness before the heavy bass punch slams in for one final burst of savagery.
Bottom line, for those who value atmosphere over set song structures this is indeed an essential purchase as the album is literarily ram packed with many moments that will wet the appetites for those who likes something darker and more subjective.
However, at times the record did appear to lose itself in the way of direction and certain aspects may have worked better if they we’re condensed. There were however many crescendo led moments that certainly redeemed the more mundane chunks (which were fewer in proportion) of the music itself. In essence though, this is record that demands revisiting and after doing so myself, I can certainly see where the band are going with this. Great work guys.
Review by Ben Spencer