Blasphemist: Shadowtorned World

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Blasphemist: Shadowtorned World
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Blasphemist: Shadowtorned World
Melodic Death Metal
Noisehead Records
November 4th, 2011
Release length: 42:25
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Austrian Melodic Death Metal group Blasphemist‘s roots are actually rather interesting when you break them down. The group initially formed back in 2006 under the name Zodiac, and founding member Lukas Rappitsch was apparently only fifteen when he a Lukas Venus formed the group. They issued an EP in 2007, a single, then a full-length in 2010 themselves. In 2011, the group was signed to Noisehead Records, and changed their monicker to Blasphemist. Shadowtorned World, the debut for this name, though technically second full-length recorded by the group, has not really seen much press up to this point, but is this just because the group is still so young and new, or does their quality reflect the lack of information in the public’s eye?

Shadowtorned World‘s audio is pretty modern sounding for a Melodic Death Metal record. The music has a rather heavy sound to it that gives the music a slightly raw quality thanks to the levels that everything is at. The guitars don’t quite sound that heavy, and even can be sterile at times. They are largely aided by a sliught distortion to gives them just enough of an edge that the podded up bass notes, though sadly not as deep as they are loud, really mask this and end up giving their music a bit of a blunt feel in an early nineties sense of sound, as well as general quality, but that’s something to discuss in a bit. The drumming here sounds pretty good as well, having the snares coming through pretty loud, though for the most part a little dull to give a bit of a deeper sound to the music, while the bass kicks have a very dominating click that almost drowns them out. The cymbols can be a bit lost in the mix thanks to them too, but luckily show through just enough that you can still pick them out no matter what. The vocals feel a bit further in the background of the album as well, though not too much. Again this could come from the insanely loud bass kicks.

But right from the start, Blasphemist‘s sound can easily be described among a few existing bands. The audio clearly takes on an early Melodic Death Metal sound that could be more like something In Flames would have done a little bit into their career, and it’s mixed with a higher pitched Black Metal-esque vocal approach that goes into Dani Filth, Cradle of Filth territory. It’s an interesting combination, and it also finds some gutturals thrown in against those falsetto-like wails similar to what one might find on releases from The Black Dahlia Murder or even Impaled, but that’s only a very vague reference made more to easily explain this approach. A lot of this becomes obvious shortly after the introduction track “Equinox,” which is a nice little atmospheric piece to get you settled in and build up towards the heavier “Silent Shore.” This song does continue to build up from where the intro began, and while it’s not the most unique track you’ll find here, much like many others on the album, it does have enough solid material and strong enough heavier sound to make you feel compelled to head bang along and feed off the energy the group brings with them through the track. It’s nice to see the band also not succumb to the patterned “scream verse, sing chorus” for this and every song, though some hamonization in the vocals do show through at times.

“Constellations” welcomes in some vocals that are more like spoken word passages, but there is a hint of harmony to them that make them feel a little more emotional to an already slightly passionate track, at least in the chorus. The song in general is just catchy with it’s mid-tempo pace and solid music from start to finish. From here, it’s just one solid track after another. Again, the material on this release is far from unique or all that new for the style, but much of it just has a great deal of energy or even a bit of emotion behind it, which makes the release really stand out amid the many other acts out there that just carbon copy their idols. This leads to plenty of tracks you’ll end up coming back to time and time again, such as the more aggressive “Painters and Poets.” This song’s richer sound, tighter performance, and extre energy with additional gutturals really shakes up the foundation of the album and keeps it from becoming repetitive and stagnant. The chorus packs in more of an atmospheric pull then energetic, slowing things down for a bit, but again don’t falling prey to doing solely clean vocals, working the two present styles together nicely to keep that aggressive sound throughout. “Pervading” is another intense track that finds a decent amount of atmosphere being included into the chorus and other passages, though largely stemming from a fast, overly aggressive track right frm the start. It’s these sort of songs that really stand out the most on the album.

The only issue one can really have towards the album aside it’s audio quality and it’s issues mentioned earlier would be the chorus becomes a bit repetitive. There is a good deal of atmosphere more times then not in the chorus, though how much varies from track to track. This is also largely followed by a high speed verse or passage of some kind. This doesn’t affect all the tracks, but by the time you hit the aforementioned “Pervading,” you’ll be begging for some less atmospheric and obvious melodic influence to the chorus, and instead want a little more intensity and aggression in there to shake things up a bit more the group is already trying to do.

But what it all comes down to is whether or not the music is good. Shadowtorned World may end up having a bit of a pattern going to the music, but it’s far from a bad thing with this group, what it is, and how they handle it. Sure the audio could have been a little better, but overall it’s still a good, professional sounding recording. Blasphemist may not be the most original Melodic Death Metal band in this day and age, but what they play is still solid, heavy, and headbang worthy any time of any day. If you enjoy the style, this group is worth taking a look into.

01. Equinox – 1:49
02. Silent Shore – 4:09
03. Constellations – 4:03
04. Red to the Sky – 3:48
05. Painters and Poets – 4:47
06. Tides Equal Rebellion – 4:11
07. Pervading – 5:14
08. Shadowtorned World – 4:21
09. These Darkened Signs – 3:54
10. Where No One Stood Before – 5:28
Overall Score: 8/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Noisehead Records.