Forged in 2018 and hailing from Ontario, Canada, Plague Weaver was initially created as a solo project for a musician who tags himself simply as, R.M. He performed all the instruments on 2019’s self-titled debut and 2020’s ‘Through the Sulphur Eyes”. Both releases drawing heavily on his blackened and doom metal influences.
It’s a template he hasn’t strayed too far from on this year’s, full length release – Ascendant Blasphemy. There is one significant difference in that R.M. has collaborated with a lyricist and vocalist who goes by the similarly anonymized moniker, J.C.
Now a two piece, the band have emphasized how the music on Ascendant Blasphemy represents an evolution from its predecessors. They describe the record as being “more aggressive and riff-driven but without abandoning Plague Weaver’s doom-inspired roots,” and with reference to J.C.’s contribution they add, “the album’s lyrics are a loose concept that follows a series of Satanic philosophies or questions considered from a Satanic perspective.”
If you have an appetite for dark and clandestine riffs you’ll undoubtedly find satisfaction in the miserable battering of the albums opening track, Nothing Is Sacred. Equal parts black metal and majestic doom, the album pulls you rapidly into a fog of churning malevolence and holds you there for the duration of each of the grim soundscapes that follow.
Lay Fire appears intended to disorientate the listener further by setting its fast, tremolo riffs over a heavy half time rhythm. J.C. increases the aggression, adding tormented and tortured voices to the arrangement before unleashing something truly hostile on the icily powerful Blood Runs Not, which climaxes on a slowly peeled out, repeating refrain on the guitar.
As each song establishes itself, it becomes clear Plague Weaver are using tone and atmosphere to create their cacophonous tempest. Musical hooks and melody are present but mostly as whispers and echoes in the raging wind of the music.
Of Quivering Doves marks the point where the album brings its doom influences to the forefront. It’s a credit to the band that when they do shift from a blackened blast into the slower tempos, it’s not jarring or forced at all and only serves to increase the weight of the music in an effective and formidable way.
Through Deicidal Usurper and the hypnotic trawl of In Exitum Caeli, Plague Weaver largely stick to the template they have set out in the previous tracks, maintaining a venomous cadence to proceedings.
It’s an effective delivery, if a little repetitive, and on that point, overall, Ascendent Blasphemy is probably best taken as a suite made up of 8 parts. A tone poem for malevolence and ultimately a submergence into something dark and bleakly compelling. There is a growing appeal here that reveals itself gradually on repeated listens – the fact I keep going back to this demonstrates its significant allure.