ARCHFIEND DEVILPIG – 6 string Mayhem and Chaotic Malevolence, Cries of Morbid Elevation
HERALD OF DEMONIC PESTILENCE – 6 string Condemnation of the Holy
FALLEN ANGEL OF FORNICATION – 6 string glorification of the Lord Satan
MAELSTROM – Hatehammers
01 The Wanderer And His Shadow
02 Mutter Aller Leiden
03 Reducto Ad Absurdum
04 Stoking The Fire Of Resentment
05 Scorn Aesthetics
06 In Our Image, After Our Likeness
07 Wolf Uncaged _ Prometheus Unbound
It’s been all quiet from Greek black/death metallers Embrace of Thorns for the last 4 years, since the release of their well received 2014 album, ‘Darkness Impenetrable’. This month sees their latest offering, ‘Scorn Aesthetics’, be released through German label Iron Bonehead. With around 15 releases over 20 years under their bullet belts, this band have certainly paid their dues and have been growing in the periphery supporting big bands like Inquisition (aye, sorry). They could perhaps be described as a slow-burner in the death metal scene and I’m not exactly sure why. This album could potentially change that, it’s the elegant verging on pretentious side of death metal, intelligent and hypnotic with walls of blast beats with hefty guitar riffs which undoubtedly drag you in. It’s quite easy to pick out their influences, though that doesn’t necessarily make it sound like a cheap imitation. Think early death metal with blackened elements; I get Autopsy, Death, Asphyx, Pestilence, Behemoth and early Mayhem, you probably recognise others, who knows.
The album starts off with a nice choral opening, and the obligatory sample about Satan before launching into a fast as feck barrage of blast beats, deathly roars, and typical death metal style guitar progressions. Definitely an appropriate way to start the album as that’s mainly what you get for the next 43 minutes, bar some flow and tempo changes. ‘Reducto Ad Absurdum’ is a decent stand-out track and a good example of their musical ingredients, spewing forth class, venom and occult profanities throughout. Equally, ‘Scorn Aesthetic’ and the finale track, ‘Wolf Uncaged_ Prometheus Unbound’ stand out from the album.
I found Scorn Aesthetic hugely immersive, like falling headfirst into a smouldering pit, and whilst it’s generally varied enough to listen to in its entirety without losing interest, it does remain strictly within the recognized genre parameters. So it therefore isn’t at all groundbreaking or really significant, but more a good example of blackened death. My only potentially negative pondering was how laughably serious and pretentious some of it came across as. Yes, black metal and (perhaps to a lesser extent) death metal are not a platform for comedy or light-hearted musings, but the more serious a band takes themselves, undoubtedly the more ridiculous they seem. As legendary black metal drummer Frost said ‘If you’re too pretentious, you can end up looking like a silly clown’ and no-one wants that.