Translation Loss Records
May 24th, 2011
Release length: 24:53
While the album may not be the crisp, clean digital recording some bands of the style have been flocking to lately to counter the overly raw productions flooding the underground, there’s no denying this album still has a slightly raw and muddy production quality. This helps the bludgeoning sound of the album to sound far more aggressive and sinister, but also adds an atmosphere that varies between melancholic and desperate, which is more often designated through the vocals of the recording, which show some great range for the group. Listeners are treated to some really grim and deep gutturals, while at the same time the traditional wails are performed with plenty of energy and become more venomous, creating a more punishing and intimidating vocal approach. The only complaint here is that these higher pitched screams that make up the wails are often quite monotone and lack any sort of range, leaving the gutturals to really come in and save the day from the release becoming repetitive as far as that goes, but even then those vocals can become a little boring after a while. “Our Final Reward in Hell” is proof enough thanks to the same pattern to the wails and gutturals, though the harsher gutturals that appear during the more melancholic and emotional halfway point that relies heavily on haunting cleaner guitars work to break things up a bit before going into traditional early second wave Black Metal.
Aside that issue, there isn’t really anything else that comes off in a negative aspect. Musically, the effort comes off as a mixture of that aforementioned early second wave Black Metal, but affecting more tracks then just “Our Final Reward in Hell”, with a stronger, more emotionally driven underground Black Metal approach like what one might expect to hear from Alcest, which can be found on that song, as well as the heavier, closing track “A Plague to End All Plagues”. This track also feels as if it’s introducing a bit of a Doom Metal soul-crushing sound, something similar to what one might expect from Novembers Doom, except with a stronger Black Metal presence in the music with the only Death Metal found in the uncompromising gutteral performance. This song definitely leads the album forward to an excellent and hopeless closing, well suiting to more aggressive and hopeless start of the EP. With that in mind, looking at the first two tracks tends to lead the listener to expect something a little different, having more of a modern Black Metal sound to the recording similar to acts like Watain, just without much of the stylish production quality to it.
But, even with all of those variations of the style, the music stays fluid and keeps that razor-like sound to each track. The ruthless aggression of the songs feels uncompromising, sinking it’s teeth into the juggular of the listener. Each track on here holds it’s own unique interpretation of the style, but in the end can simply be looked up as shining example of ruthless US Black Metal that looks to not only crush you soul, but swallow it whole in the process. If you have yet to check out Bringers of Disease, then this four song EP is a must for fans of the style, and the growing power of Black Metal from the United States. It may not be raw enough for some, but what it lacks for in that “kvlt” aspect, it more then makes up for in early Black metal influences and aggression.
01. Doomed to Flames – 4:25
02. Your Prayers Remain Unheard – 7:03
03. Our Final Reward in Hell – 5:58
04. A Plague to End All Plagues
|Overall Score: 8.5/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Translation Loss Records.