|Black Metal, Death Metal
August 3rd, 2010
Release length: 14:22
The production quality on Plague/Oblivion is the first thing to take notice on. For an independent recording, the quality is top notch, leaving a slightly raw feel to the production, but it isn’t a raw mess that sounds completely amateurish and probably cost a lot to have recorded. Everything on this recording is pretty much perfectly audible. The guitars have the right amount of distortion to capture the traditional Black Metal distortion, and the bass is loud enough that is adds a deeper bite to the venomous guitars. Every aspect of the drum kit if audible within the expected audio levels for each part of the kit, and doesn’t sound like someone slapped a mic near the snares and just recorded one take, which is great to hear because the drumming is great, varying between some solid blast beats and more technical material to match any changes in the music, though it’s mostly composed of the first of those options. However, given the way it’s recorded, you can easily pick out some of the unique elements in those blast beats. The vocals are also done well, being overpowering in the final mix, but not too much to drown the music out. The mixture of higher rhaspy vocals and lower gutterals is executed well, and at times sound as sinister as the music does. Once again, because of the nice production on it, you don’t have to strain to hear the gutterals, then immediately jump back to not go deaf by the louder rhaspier vocals.
Aside the excellent production quality, the music itself is top notch. The four songs on here are basically your standard furious, blistering, intimidating mixture of Black and Death Metal, but there’s a lot of energy clearly in the mix. You can tell the band enjoyed recording it, and with that comes an excellent performance. There’s a good bit of a variety here too, with “Generator of Dead Humans” primarily being a blast beat fueled aggressive romp of Black Metal brutality, but then you have “My Own Redeemer” which is a much slower and crushing track that clearly takes more towards the Death Metal side of things to create an intimidating environment with a chaotic and figuratively insane vocal approach of layered vocals going off over one another at various times, as if voices screaming at an psychopath inside his or her head. “Thornscrowned” both manage to mix together the fiery onslaught of blast beats similar to “Generator of Dead Humans”, but thow in some slower sections as well to break it up, and both have a stronger, more energetic performance then the others, though not by much.
There’s really nothing bad to mention about this release. The only things that felt a little off were in the vocals, and that was during the random noises that would be made. “I Deny”, for example, starts off with furious music that finds the vocalist trying to build it up a bit more through random rhaspy noises. The end of that little segment at the start concludes with “Ooh!”, which you’d expect much from a sudden shift from fast to slow instead of just continuing with the same faster material. It sounds good, but the problem is it only hits twice, one in each speaker. There definitely should have been an echo effect on this until it fades into silence. Other then that, some of the blast beats become a bit of a cause for concern, considering that there is such a strong emphasis on them. This gives off the notion that it’s how the band intends to record a good majority of the songs, and while it works for these four tracks, it plants a seed of doubt that the group may wind up becoming another band that focuses on trying to just hammer away at the listener with such performances and trying to figure out what chords would work well with the fast paced drums. Maybe a little more variety on one more track here, perhaps “I Deny”, would definitely have been a nice finishing touch.
But, in the end, this demo shows a lot of promise from Crowned in Thorns. The material presented is furious and aggressive, and the total impact would not have been as strong had the production been anything less then the quality it is at. The four tracks show the band is able to create some violent-sounding fast paced tracks, but aren’t strictly limited to that approach, which is enough to bring a smile to your face as the music cuts away at you with it’s razor-like edge, except for “My Own Redeemer” which feels more like it’s just pounding away at you with a blunt object at times. Plague/Oblivion may not be the longest demo in existence, but it does exactly what the demo is intended to do, which is make people, especially record labels, aware of the band and showcase their best material. Hopefully there will be more recorded material to come soon, but until then, this demo is well worth checking out, and Crowned in Thorns themselves appear to be a group well worth keeping an eye on.
01. I Deny – 2:59
02. Generator of dead Humans – 3:12
03. My Own Redeemer – 4:56
04. Thornscrowned – 3:13
|Overall Score: 9.5/10