Angel of Damnation: Carnal Philosophy

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Angel of Damnation: Carnal Philosophy
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Angel of Damnaton: Carnal Philosophy
Epic Doom Metal
Kneel Before the Masters Throne Records
March, 2011
Release length: 36:57
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Angel of Damnation formed back in 2004, and since then has had an alright track record. The German Doom Metal band has bounced around between labels, originally signed to Deathstrike Records for a single, then for a split release through Golden Procession with one track from each othe two bands on it, and most recently to the time of this review inked a deal to issue their debut full-length recording Carnal Philosophy through Kneel Before the Master’s Throne Records. And, given the sudden interest in old-school Doom acts like Candlemass, as well as new releases by bands like Ghoul causing a great stir in the Metal community, it’s obvious this band should feel right at home, though still hidden deep in the shadows of the underground.

Carnal Philosophy truly captures a dark and sinister atmosphere to it’s raw, analog Doom Metal sound. Taking obvious influences from acts such as Candlemass and even Black Sabbath, this mixture of evil Rock and Metal concepts come together to weave a rather epic tapestry of demonic lyrical content. The slower pace often gives way to well suiting tribal drumming laced with some vintage Doom chords that vary between chugging performances of mid-tempo music that come off with a hand in Heavy Metal interpretations, and slow music that often rings out to set a depressing and desperate atmosphere. The glorious thing about this is that many of these tracks feature all these variances within that one specific track, allowing for a great range of diversity that also stays fluid from start to finish, such as with the first track “Doomed Forever”. The song starts out like your typical early Doom Metal track, and eventually picks up a stronger desperate vibe with slower music, which is eventually enhanced later in the track by the inclusion of keyboards before going into a quicker Heavy Metal interpretation of all that you had experienced already. This epic-sounding roughly eight and a half minute track really grabs the listener, but even then it’s not the most entertaining track offered on this release, but it definitely is one of the more spellbinding ones.

Not every track on here has that general epic sound to it though. In fact, the only other time the band really seems to try to create that sort of vibe tot he music is the song “Enthrone the Flesh”. This track features more material that goes at a slower pace, and the vocal performance on this track feels more energetic and, at times, a little more sinister thanks to rhaspier moments, as well as some gutturals thrown into the mix during the most energetic parts of the performance. The only let down of this song is that it feels like the band could have easily done more with it, especially when the song picks up to a mid-tempo pace for a little while to close the song out, showing that it easily could have been drug out a little longer and still sound intriguing without exhausting what makes the song sound as good as it does. “Cleanes by the Fires of Satan” also goes at a slower pace, though it doesn’t quite have that epic vibe to the music as it just doesn’t have that same impact, and goes into a more traditional NWOBHM sounding approach without trying to sound grand and larger-than-life.

Instead, that track seems to take more from the general faster ideas that appear on other tracks for the most part. “I’ll Drink from the Chalice of Blood” actually follows the previous opening epic song with a more traditional early Doom sound, sort of between a NWOBHM approach mixed with varying Hard Rock acts from the seventies. The song’s more upbeat nature and energetic vocal performance of clean singing with some enthusiastic rougher styles here and there, mostly for the chorus, make for a very catchy track from start to finish, and cements the more Satanic lyrical approach to the album, something that works with the overall raw quality and sinister atmosphere of the music and vocal performance. But, none of these songs feel as hauntingly evil as “Into the Coven of the Damned”. This gloomy track seems to take some ques from Horror Punk themes, but works well with the early Doom Metal approach, giving off a sense of cold autumn setting, perhaps around Halloween, and really just makes the coven aspect of the lyrical material seem more alive then anything else on this release. The visual aspects the band paints with the music are astounding, and the music itself can even become rather bewitching like “Doomed Forevermore”, just not as slow or epic.

As mentioned, the audio quality of Carnal Philosophy isn’t the most modern. The music sound like the offerings of early Doom Metal bands, and the final product’s sound really reflects that era and presentation well. The music feels very raw through an analog recording quality, as if this were being heard through the speakers of a record player from the late sixties to early seventies, but still have a bit of a more modern clarity as far as the lack of white noise goes, as well as with the vocals. While the music sounds a little thinner due to the rawer sound, the vocals sound much louder and clearer. Of course, the vocals also don’t sound too rich, but that is made up by the heavy use of echoes, which, again, works well with recreating the sound of the time period they are going for.

Basically, when Christians bash Rock or Metal as being the product of Satan, this is exactly what you expect them to be thinking of. Each track on here just sound evil and intimidating with themes around Satan and Hell, all working to make this an album that leaves a lasting impression on your soul. The only track on here that really doesn’t hold up well is “Cleansed by the Fires of Satan”, but that’s more because it seems lost between traditional Doom Metal and that darker epic sound “Doomed Forevermore” gave off. But, at the end of the day, each track on here offers a decent amount of variety, and it’s dark lyrical content and overall sound mix well to create an album that feels like the kind you hear about in Horror movies like The Gate, as if it’s a piece of recorded music you simply should not listen to for the sake of your immortal soul, but of course you can’t help yourself and for good reason. Angel of Damnation present a fantastic album with Carnal Philosophy that simply must be heard.

01. Doomed Forevermore – 8:28
02. I’ll Drink from the Chalice of Blood – 4:53
03. Bow Before the Goat – 6:18
04. Into the Coven of the Damned – 5:34
05. Enthrone the Flesh – 5:24
06. Cleansed by the Fires of Satan – 6:20
Overall Score: 9/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Kneel Before the Masters Throne Records.