Blackened Wisdom: The Angels Are Crying

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Blackened Wisdom: The Angels Are Crying
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Blackened Wisdom: The Angels Are Crying
Black Metal, Death Metal
Hell’s Headbangers
August 17th, 2012
Release length: 10:56
Myspace
Blackened Wisdom had actually formed back in 1992 in Omaha, Nebraska. Roughly a year later, the group entered the studio to record three songs that would make up the contents of their debut seven inch EP. However, they broke up shortly after that, and the songs were never released. Thanks to Hell’s Headbangers, they will now be officially pressed for the first time as the The Angels Are Crying EP. No, this doesn’t mean the group has reunited, but it does mean that a vital piece of Black/Death Metal history from it’s earliest roots is finally available for the Metal community to hear. But, is this experience one that is worth it for more than a collectable purpose, or were these better left in the deepest pits of the underworld?

Given that these were all independent recordings, and the time it took place, the audio is going to be pretty raw. The overall product is actually a bit rough to listen to, clearly coming off as late eighties to early nineties demo quality. This isn’t to say it’s bad right off the bat. The guitars have a decent sharpness to them that is complimented nicely with the rather rich and loud bass guitar. The snares have a bit of a wooden sound to them at a decent level compared to the click of the bass kicks that are largely lost in the mix. The cymbals are essentially the medium between the two, pushed a bit in the background, but still sound good and fill the silence well. Finally, there’s the vocals, which are a traditional Black Metal rhasp, but have a good deal of energy to them that gives off an additional venomous bite to the mix.

There’s simply no masking what lies before you on this release, which is largely hate-filled Black and Death Metal performances of a very raw nature. This is evident right at the start with “After Me Come the Flames.” The song varies between blast beats and mid-range grooves, but when the pace does pick up, the enthusiasm of everyone involved, mixed with the raw analog production quality and what static exists from it, all leads to a truly poisonous offering of rage. The whole performance does sound a little muffled, causing some instruments to mesh here and there, but there’s still enough room that it retains enough of a heavy presence that you can easily bang your head along to some of the more complex riffs and infectious Death Metal rhythms. “I, Eternal” doesn’t quite have that same blistering fury behind it, but it still meshes the blasting Black Metal and groove-filled Death Metal well. The bass really becomes more apparent here, and it’s easy to tell the crushing intentions the band had in the main verses that simply didn’t translate too well through the production quality. Even still, the slower sections in between are strong enough to make you bang your head along obediently, especially around the half-way point in the bridge that connects to what seems like possible two-stepping unfortunately lost amongst the levels of everything else, and a very short guitar solo that ends up a little pointless, but enjoyable either way.

Both songs are less than three minutes each, making up the first part of the EP. However, the title track remains on side b, and clocks in at over five minutes in length. The cracking thunder gives way to slow, trudging Death Metal riffs that introduce what more than likely was intended as the openner to the band’s live set. Unfortunately, the rhythm can seem a bit off during some of the faster areas, something that did occur towards the end of “I, Eternal” as well, though this could very well just be the overall quality playing tricks on you via the instruments. There are plenty of shifts in the music from start to finish, including some ritualistic drumming and slower, creepy guitar work that seems to incorporate a bit of a Doom Metal atmosphere to it without ever coming off like padding.

Despite being roughly nineteen years late to the party, it’s great to finially hear the three songs which make up The Angels are Crying, especially for fans of certain long-running bands of today. For those unaware, this group features Bill Taylor, guitarist and/or vocalist for bands such as Immolation, Angelcorpse, Xenomorph, and many others, not to mention Dan Kohler and Mike Gushar of Laceration. While this isn’t the most amazing recording, it definitely leaves you wishing for a time machine to keep the band alive, or the more physically plausable option of Blackened Wisdom reforming to carry on what legacy had just been unearthed. Aside the collectable sake, this makes for an intriguing look back at the earliest days of the Black/Death Metal genre, acting as a time capsule right down to the format it’s printed on. The Angels are Crying by Blackened Wisdom is definitely an EP worth picking up as soon as possible, or at the very least putting it atop the list of releases to buy as soon as possible.

Side One:
01. After Me Come the Flames – 2:45
02. I, Eternal – 2:58

Side Two:
03. The Angels Are Crying – 5:13

Overall Score: 8.5/10
Blackened Wisdom (band)
Blackened Wisdom
Digital review copy of this release provided by Hell’s Headbangers.