Bahimiron: Rebel Hymns of Left Handed Terror

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Bahimiron: Rebel Hymns of Left Handed Terror
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Bahimiron: Rebel Hymns of Left Handed Terror
Black Metal
Moribund Records
October 25th, 2011
Release length: 46:27
Myspace
Website
It seems one of the latest trends in American Black Metal is to have a southern vive to it, or be from the south. Of course there’s nothing wrong with this as of late, but it still seems to harbor some of the same problems other renditions of the style has to compete with when it comes to the underground. Among these southern Black Metal acts is Bahimiron. The group hails from Houston, Texas, and formed back in 2001, as well as also is comprised of a full band instead of one member handling everything. Over the years, the group has taken part in multiple split releases, as well as issued two full-length albums. Rebel Hymns of Left Handed Terror marks the group’s third album, clocking in at just over forty six minutes of southern fried Black Metal. But, just how much of this album stands out, and how much feels stereotypical to the underground?

One of the things that stands out greatly on this recording is, naturally, the audio quality. The overall production sounds very raw, but there’s no real atmosphere to the music that seems to be benefit from it. Sure there’s the southern tinge to the music, but even then it’s not really that strong to become a potent element of the album. The guitars here sound cheap, comparable to a small, portable amplifier you get when you buy a cheap electric guitar trainer package from a chain retailer like Wal-Mart or Target, sounding generic and neither heavy nor sharp. The bass is there, though very low in the background, only really audible during slower sections, and even then sometimes it’s debatable as to whether it’s that instrument or the bass kicks. The drum kit itself can be heavily drowned out by the loud guitars, much like with the bass. Sometimes, depending on the intensity of the song like Their Blood Shall Fill My Chalice,” you can easily pick up on the bass kicks, which are a loud thud though not too deep, and the snares are pretty prominant too, but they show through more in other songs as well. The cymbols are the loudest part of the kit and even sound the most authentic, though also come off as having a better audio quality compared to the guitars that sound horribly muffled despite the Black Metal distortion used, though some songs can give a bit of a crisper sound like the previous mentioned track. Vocally it’s about what you would expect, being a high pitched scream, though also with a decent range, incorporating some gutturals that give off a more haunting sound. These feel laced with energy that match the more chaotic passages the band offers, and really end up helping the overall sound nicely.

The album kicks off with “Anointed in Serpent Blood,” which seems to be more of an introduction track full of random guitar noises that slowly fade in. This does a good job at establishing the chaotic sense of the band’s music, but once that stops and the actual song kicks in, you are immediately greeted with the cheap guitar sound that drowns out everything but the vocals, which are still hard to hear, some snares in select spots, and the cymbols of the drum through the whole thing. It’s hard to make out if you’re hearing the snares or bass half the time unless you have the music cranked pretty loud, which you should have to do to discern one instrument from another. This bleeds into the next song, “Goathorned Messiah of the 7 Gates” which has the snares and bass kicks a little louder, perhaps due to the energy being incorporated to the song. This is about where it starts to pick up, but still there’s no real atmosphere to the album other then that madness that comes from the faster, chaotic moments of the song.

But, even then it can seem like the band is on the same page for the speed, but it just sounds like all the group is really trying to do is play their instruments as fast as possible. “Their Blood Shall Fill My Chalice” is pretty the perfect example of this. You hear the drums work so well with the fast paced guitar work in some places, and others you hear the drums literally have to slow down with everything but the bass kicks to get back tempo with the guitars, or are just off at cymbol crashes that are corrected after a brief yet obvious attempt to fall back in line with where everyone else is. There are even times at the start that it seem s like the drums cut for a second, aside for the kicks, and slam back in as if editted in the studio to get back in line, but poorly. When Bahimiron is not trying to reach that maniacle speed, the music ends up sounding pretty solid.

“Wielder of Demon Blades” is a good example with some decent heavier material that goes in and out of a mid-tempo to a crawl that feels very bludgeoning and desolate, working well with the raw sound the band is going for here more then that fiery speed throughout. Mixed with the varying vocal ranges, this track being one of the few that really uses the rhaspier screams more then the gutturals, you end up with a haunting track. On top of that there’s also “Throes of Oblivion” which actually ends on another haunting note with a more ritualistic sound for a short while before hammering back into the sub-standard Black Metal intensity once more, which sadly ruins the effectiveness of that ritualistic drum beat and atmosphere that was so perfectly laid out, and would have been the most fantastic ending to this album as well had it also been the closing track. The pain doesn’t end there either as “The Abattoir Inferno” has this weird bridge near the end that finds the music shifting dramatically and a horrible drum performance and sound that comes off beat once more, and more like a gallop that will make listeners want to bounce around instead of headbanging along. This leads to the dull title track “Rebel Hymns” which, again, like with “Throes of Oblivion,” offers up a slow moving passage towards the end that compliments the already slow, somewhat enjoyable sound and pace of the track, but establishes more of a haunting atmosphere, though sadly only for the last minute before just going into silence for the next thirty five seconds prior to the start of the two parted “The Death of Divinity” which could have really used a fading in intro to the rumbling sound effects and guitar noises that start it off for the nightmarish/hellish atmosphere of track, especially since this whole song is meant to be an Ambient piece that varies from some creepy atmosphere to none at all.

To put it bluntly, Behimiron‘s latest effort is pretty bad, even by “kvlt” stereotype standards. The music on Rebel Hymns of Left Handed Terror is lifeless and without any sort of atmosphere that may come from it. The guitars sound horrible, the bass is pretty much inaudible, it sounds like the band corrects the drum volume levels after the first song but even then the drumming can’t seem to keep up with the guitars and even sound edited at times. The slower parts of the album have the potential to become a bit creepy or feel burdening, but that’s very rare on this effort. It feels like there’s potential within the band, but the direction the group seems to lean to is not what the band is capable of doing without a problem, which in turns finds Bahimiron holding themselves back greatly, and it ends up causing their latest effort to suffer horribly. Even if you’re a fan of the underground Black Metal movement, southern-based American Black Metal acts, or even just like the “kvlt” style, there’s very little here that will actually come off as a solid, enjoyable recording for the listener, and can easily be skipped over.

01. Anointed in Serpents Blood – 2:25
02. Goathorned Messiah of the 7 Gates – 5:16
03. Their Blood Shall Fill My Chalice – 2:48
04. Bestial Raids of Antichrist Darkness – 8:56
05. Wielder of Demon Blades – 3:37
06. Throes of Oblivion – 5:32
07. The Abattoir Inferno – 2:10
08. Rebel Hymns – 8:40
09. The Death of Divinity – 7:04
I: Storm of Lucifer
II:New Dawn Fades
Overall Score: 3/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Moribund Records.