BLACK DEATH CULT – Devil’s Paradise

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: http://hellsheadbangers.com
Released: 2020
Buy Album: https://hellsheadbangers.bandcamp.com
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/Black-Death-Cult-101357537973644

Band line-up:

Morgana la Fey – Bass
Ana Sepiya – Drums
Draco Mare – Guitars
S.E.A.L. – Keyboards
Rephaim Specter – Vocals, Guitars

Tracklisting:

1. Infernal Triad
2. Double Monolith
3. Nightside of the Pyramids
4. Epilogue
5. Captor of Perception
6. .AM.
7. Funereality
8. Living Temple
9. The Unnameable

Review:

Black Death Cult are an experimental black/death metal band on the Hells Headbangers record label. The Canadians, also of acts Antediluvian and Revenge, released their debut album ‘Devil’s Paradise’ first on double LP vinyl format in the autumn of 2019. Luckily for those who appreciate something a little different,  HH gave the band even more exposure by releasing a CD version on 27th November, 2020. The 51 minute epic can be compared to the material of Master’s Hammer, Tormentor, Necromantia, Root, and Barathrum. Their sound is wild and atmospheric, and is full of contrasting dynamics. 

Some of the most striking features of the music are the synths. Many have a bit of a church organ-like sound, and whilst they do have a harsh vibe and in theory should compliment the sludgy guitars nicely, to me at least, they sounded a bit odd at first. But you know what? They do make sense with repeated listens. The band took a risk and it paid off, and they should be praised for not trying to profit off of tried and tested formulas. The vocal-like synths are more typical and create a haunting rather than freakish atmosphere. It’s ever so slightly more palatable, but avant-garde fans may not be phased by the more unusual textures. 

The vocal style and doomy slow sections have somewhat of a Nile feel. The music isn’t as Egyptian sounding as the legends, so BDC can’t be accused of plagiarism at all. The drumming is far less chaotic and virtuosic than with the ancient history fans, too. That’s not a bad thing, it just means head banging is a little bit easier. The frequent tempo changes are also pretty Nile-like, but BDC are often a little crazier and rushed and have more of an exiting modern prog feel rather than a more epic and drawn out one. 

The sound on the whole is epic, huge and intriguing. Listing to the music is like listening to a whole world of chaos, helped in part by the rich, natural production style. Little details are thrown in here and there in the form of strange synth sounds and unusual percussion hits. Track ‘.AM.’ is much simpler to the others on the release to put it mildly, but the vocals are so repetitive and basic, they’re quite catchy! It’s worth checking that track out, because logic would say it wouldn’t work. Rather, it should be a pretty dumb. Just another surprise the release offers. ‘The Unnameable’ is more surreal, yet it doesn’t feel out of place. A sign of very mature writing. It would be pretentious to describe the album as a symphony, but I guess in a way, you could. It’s a true journey.

In conclusion, this stuff is a little weird (though far from completely crazy – don’t get me wrong), but it maintains the heaviness fans of the genre will crave. The guitars are pummelling and the bass is massive. The drums are equally potent. This album is like listening to Hell itself and is never dull. Maybe the chord progressions and riffs could be more adventurous and maybe some more melody would be an interesting idea to take the band up a level, but this is a solid effort that I’m sure will have a long lifespan. Check it out if you’re starting to grow tired with the same old death metal, but you don’t want to go nuts. Recommended!                       

Review by Simon Wiedemann

 

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