|Black Metal, Death Metal
June 2nd, 2011
Release length: 42:25
First of all, the album is far from raw, but it’s not too clean either. The audio does have a bit of a muddy sound to it that glorifies the deeper audio in both the Death Metal distortion on the guitar, and the thick, loud bass guitar. Both clearly offer a blunt edge to the music while going full force with speed and intensity that captures a more modern Black Metal sound of aggression against a very intimidating and all around evil Death Metal presence. The drumming here is captured fantastically with cymbols that come through loudly to fill the music perfectly, snares that can be heard hammering through the bludgeoning guitars of the mix to add to the overall rich material, and bass kicks that simply hammer away at the listener with a very deep and dominating click. The vocals come through loud enough to mesh in with the music, being slightly back in the mix, but still loud enough that the guttural performance can often be understood without a problem, and never really drowned out by the music. All of this makes for the superb foundation of what is easily an album full of sould crushing intensity and blast beats that can leave the listener crippled on the group while forcing him or her to lay back and accept what’s coming.
And traditionally, the fact that the album is littered with blastbeats is enough to really set up a highly repetitive album that finds each song the same as the first, but with Apocalypse Command, this is not what happens. The group includes plenty of obvious variety to the music that cmes through perfectly thanks to the audio quality that you can pick up on the changes while the music never stops it’s relentless assault, or even slows down for a minute other then coming down from a few more blunt and crushingly faster passage or solo. “Mayhemic Overkill” does little in the way of warning the listener that this is their fate, as the haunting, chilling introduction of raw “kvlt” Black Metal standard sounds to kick up with what sounds like wind going through at a low, muffled volume to make it sound like screaming in the background. Feet scrape along eventually with droning guitar or bass in the background as the sounds continue to build up, and then once it’s done, the band goes straight for the juggular and hammers right in with the crushing, high speed blastbeat intensity that makes up the rest of this release. The chords here take on a bit of an old school Death Metal approach litered with a more traditional and modern Black Metal sound, all of which leave an atmosphere that is simply brutal and uncompromising, all the while demanding that you start headbanging immediately. One of the only negative aspects, though an understandable one, is that the guitar solo here, as well as on other tracks, happens to be so short. Granted here it hits more then once, but each time it seems to barely go over five seconds if that. These are definitely short and sweet, but you can’t help wanting them to be longer, especially when you know there’s enough room to accomodate another five, six seconds of it.
Each song that follows “Mayhemic Overkill” is just pure soul crushing brutality that you simply cannot even begin to ignore or consider background noise. Each track has enough unique material to them to stand out from one another, but it isn’t until “Temple of the Accursed” that the band greets the listener with the same kind of bludgeoning, energetic onslaught at that first song. This track clearly has a lot more energy going to it, capturing a simply unrelenting onslaught from the group that leaves you feeling battered and broken from the badlam. This, as well as others before and after it, will leave you pounding your head along to the music, unable to stop amid some of the catchier drumming and guitar chords that really capture that old-school Death Metal vibe well and feed those looking for something simply punishing nicely. And if that’s not enough, the track “Empress of Butchery” actually becomes a huge shock due to the fact that it feels even more intense and simply evil compared to other tracks. This song really stands out well given the title and lyrical content that matches the grim and hopeless atmosphere the band brings with them, as well as even incorporates a few slower passages that really create a stronger hopeless sensation to the track. Given it’s just over six minute track length, this is a blessing and keeps the song going from start to finish without a second of it feeling recycled. The only bad thing about this is that it spoils the listener horribly, and there isn’t much else that follows you can listen to without comparing ti to this track.
This isn’t to say the rest of Damnation Scythes of Invincible Abomination is weak compared to that song and what came before. “Blasphemy in Darkness” comes at the listener with a somewhat shorter length that again doesn’t really let up on the listener, though it doesn’t quite feel as intense, atmospheric, or energetic as others on the album. This really is the only negative thing to say about it, as the song is still a solid experience that will have your head banging along to it for the most part. But when you look back at the fact that this track is one of the band’s earliest compositions, it’s a little expected that it could be a bit weak compared to others, though “Mayhemic Overkill” and “Evil Necromancy” show no similar symptoms. Aside that, the only other issue you can really bring up about this album is that sometimes the drumming can’t seem to keep up. If you pay close enough attention, you can pick up on it slowing down slightly, or just coming through with a little less volume at times which can feel more like the drummer is simply getting worn out. Thankfully some of the faults that do appear on “Blasphemy in Darkness” don’t show up on “Into Atomic Hell,” the closing track, as well as the longest song of the entire effort at over six and a half minutes. The track packs a lot of intensity into it, and there’s a decemt amount of energy that matches the atmosphere the group brings back into the fold. However, the track does just seem to cut out a little too early, and had the music rining out, or an outro similar to the intro on “Mayhemic Overkill” been applied, it would have left the entire album feeling that much more complete then it already does.
In the end, Damnation Scythes of Invincible Abomination is a superb mixture of traditional Black and Death Metal ideas with a more modern drive and sound. While “Blasphemy in Darkness” is not the strongest offering from the group, it’s hard to sit back with the other seven songs and feel the band tried to just take one song and rework it. There’s enough unique material and solid transitions through each song to really make it stand out. The only gripe is that, while it’s unrelenting and constantly just punches you in the face to leave you unrecognizable pulp, the constant blastbeat idea can get a little boring after a while since there’s no real difference in speed, and the slower segments that can appear towards the end of the release, even just as a quick transition from one passage to another, really show the potential of having some slower material once in a while throughout one of the band’s releases. But, overall, despite some of it’s faults, Apocalypse Command is a superb album you will constantly come back to, perhaps not right away given the aforementioned blastbeat issue, but once you get your strength back up from the mound of flesh the band leaves you in, you’ll be back for more.
01. Mayhemic Overkill – 5:57
02. Onslaught of Invincible Evil – 5:22
03. Lust, Vengeance, Death – 5:16
04. Temple of Apostasy – 5:25
05. Empress of Butchery – 6:06
06. Evil Necromancy – 3:30
07. Blasphemy in Darkness – 4:16
08. Into Atomic Hell – 6:37
|Overall Score: 9.5/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Invictus Productions.