Released: 2013, Hells Headbangers
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Black Metal Fun Fact of the Day: Void Meditation Cult used to be known as Sperm of Antichrist.
Sperm of Antichrist. Now THAT is a name kids.
From the good folks at Hells Headbangers Records comes SULFUROUS PRAYERS OF BLIGHT AND DARKNESS, which combines Void Meditation Cult’s 2010 SULFUROUS PRAYER demo and Sperm of Antichrist’s 2009 BLIGHT AND DARKNESS demo (you see what they did with the name there?). Paired together, pressed on wax and made available as a digital download for the first time, and you’ve got yourself 8 tracks of super low-fi, ugly, indie black metal. Now I’d never heard of either VMC or SOA prior to this release, but Hells Headbangers usually has a pretty good track record with under-underground releases. Usually. Here’s the thing - SULFUROUS PRAYERS OF BLIGHT AND DARKNESS isn’t good, it isn’t bad, it just is. It’s a collection of demos that are several years old from one of a gazillion like-minded outfits, that doesn’t sound markedly different from those other gazillion like-minded outfits. If super low-fi, ugly indie black metal is your thing, then huzzah, read on. If not, keep on walkin’.
The album is split in half between the VMC and SOA demos, and there’s a pretty clear line in the sand between the two. The more recent Void Meditation Cult material sounds a lot like Profanatica (thumbs up there), with its low end buzz and growly, spoken vocals, but also features the occasional atmospheric church organ. It also features an abundance of whispered vocals, which I’m not sure is supposed to be for added ooky spooky effect or what, but it comes across kinda shticky. Either way, it’s not a terrible listen, but I’m also not terribly compelled to hear more. The older Sperm of Antichrist material is even fuglier (i.e. recorded in somebody’s bedroom), which while I can get behind the presentation, I can’t deal with the whispered vocals. WHAT THE F@#K IS UP WITH THE WHISPERS!!! SAY IT LOUD, SAY IT PROUD, SAY YOU LOVE SATAN!!! The four SOA tracks are disposable, cookie cutter homebrewed black metal, intended to sound evil and intense, but ends up sounding, well, shticky.
There are folks that eat this kind of stuff up, myself included when the execution matches the presentation. Unfortunately this comp from Void Meditation Cult does not meet that requirement. It’s got a cool vibe to it, the gatefold packaging is top notch, and the label promoting it certainly deserves your attention, but the tunes here are a forgettable mishmash of traditional stereotypes. Oh yea, and they’re from Ohio. I used to live in Ohio, it’s not that evil. Boring yes, evil no.
SULFUROUS PRAYERS OF BLIGHT AND DARKNESS is available now through Hells Headbangers Records on vinyl or as a digital download for $6.66, which is of course, the retail price of the beast.