Reviewed: June 2017
Released: 2017, Gods Ov War Productions
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Spain deserves more credit for the Metal bands that it produces. Atrexial play an apocayptic style of Black Metal; its cold grimness belies the band’s Mediterranean upbringing. Their debut album “Souverain” is a tooth loosening foray into sonic violence. Vine i sent la foscor!
The album opens with “Enthronement”, a suitably louring intro, replete with “Jaws”-esque motif. It sets the tone with obvious ornery intent. Proceedings begin proper with “The Hideous Veil of Innocence”, a jangling juggernaut not unlike Behemoth. A staggering display of brute force. “Under The Scourge Of Lamashtu”, impresses with its malodourous feel; forceful and packed with disquieting menace.
The “Hellraiser” samples and nuclear fallout riffing of “Catharsis Through Torment”, and the arresting grinding assault of “Unmerciful Imperial Majesty” move things along, before “Illumiator” arrives to fuck you. Hard. Its chilling intro pumps hard into a slate heavy set of riffs. Unmerciful.
The ghoulish strains of “The Ominous Silence” abound with more Pinhead orations. The jarring approach is lifted by the ethereal keyboards, while the guitars plumb the depths of despair. The interlude piece “Ascension” showcases some virtuoso piano skills; like Beethoven if he was afflicted with the Devil’s mark. To use a cliché “Shadows Of The Nephilim” is the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object. The power of those granite guitars is overwhelming. The album is further enhanced by the frothing histrionics, and glacial tunefulness of “Trinity”. The title track is the aural equivalent of an eternity in Hell in the company of cenobites. A lambent flame of bitterness, its murky guitar solos unfold disgustingly into the diabolcal perversion of it all. Proceedings close with the extremely dramatic “Eternal”, an acceptance of perpetual damnation.
The dark, blacked heart of “Souverain” is a delight to behold. Its unyielding nature and constant blast sometimes mean that fervent attntion is required, but repeated listens reveal many different layers. At times the band’s approach recalls German Black Metal demigods Secrets Of The Moon. Never a bad thing. They also score points for their obsession with the “Hellraiser” franchise. Seek it out.
Review by Owen Thompson
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