Neldoreth: The Saints of Blasphemy – I: Baptized in Blasphemy

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Neldoreth: The Saints of Blasphemy – I: Baptized in Blasphemy
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Neldoreth: The Saints of Blasphemy: 1 - Baptized in Blasphemy
Black Metal
Extreminal Productions
April 2nd, 2013
Release length: 46:50
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania’s Neldoreth return with Saints of Blasphemy – I: Baptized in Blasphemy, their first new full-length effort since 2006’s Under Azazel’s Dark Wings. Ditching the recent Death Metal style, they return to their Black Metal roots, as well as find themselves on Turkey-based Extreminal Productions. This former two-piece (though the line-up exists on this album) has also become a full fledged five member outside since Darrell Creel’s departure in 2012, picking up bassist Lou Spencer of Manticore (credited as Ixitichitl), drummer Ben Livingston (Dorjan), guitarist Ricktor Ravenshbruck of Electric Hellfire Club fame, as well as former Bloodcurse member Damien Quick (credited as SixRazor666) on guitar. Is this album a step in the right direction before the new line-up goes into effect, or is this album just not really worth your time?

The audio here isn’t all that bad actually. The bass is the most dominant of all the instruments, having a mixture of low tones and buzzing that sounds great with the deeper, more Disth Metal distorted guitars than a traditional sharper Black Metal one. Some cymbals not only can be pretty loud, finding some more distant than others, but do carry a bit of washout here and there. The rest of the kit has varied tighter snaps and booming snares, as well as lower volumed clicks for the bass kicks. The vocals are pushed back in the mix, a good thing consideration it seems vocalist Bloodcurse is straining to hit certain notes at times, mixing higher rhasps with mid-range shouting that seems to be more like an attempt at gutturals that doesn’t quite hit the necessary depth. All of this ends up being a bit muffled, but doesn’t end up restricting much of the bite, as the energy in each track is captured perfectly.

Saints of Blasphemy: I – Baptized in Blasphemy is a heavily varied album. “Bapotized in Blasphemy” takes on more of a modern Black Metal style, laced with plenty of blastbeats full of energy and aggression, constantly punching you in the face to assert the band’s dominance. While a great song, the opening chords sound terribly off a few seconds, and the drums in some areas have a weird pause to them that throws the timing off horribly, such as around the two minute mark. There’s also the infectious “Christian Depotism,” which is easily the most memorable. There’s a good deal of melody that gives off a bit of an epic vibe to the main verses and chorus. Some bridges and other passages don’t quite have the same impact, slowing down for a somber atmosphere. Vocally, however, the rhasp approach seems to take on more of an Accept or U.D.O. influence, often having the intensity drop out at the end of a line of lyrics.

There’s also the band’s first single/epic opus from this release, “Ritual Suicide,” a nod to early cold second generation Black Metal. The atmosphere is very rich, and the guitar solo is one of the best the album has to offer, but it ends up that the length and simplicity do the most damage. The over twelve minute performance feels padded out at times with cleaner, slower passages that aren’t bad at the start and end, but in the middle sounds like overkill, and the mid-tempo main verses and bridges just aren’t strong enough to hold your attention, winding up really repetitive really quick. Had the song been slashed in half, it would have been a far more enjoyable experience.

While “Ritual Suicide” really earmarks the worst the album offers, which still isn’t that bad a thing, there’s still some bad choices that should be noted when it comes to the interludes. First are the spoken word rituals. “Drink From the Seven Chalices” goes on for over four minutes, but gets incredibly boring after the first minute. The obnoxious pulsing sound effect in the background doesn’t help, and even sound like someone blowing air through their pressed lips, but altered, at the start and at certain times. “Diabolicae Baptismum” does the same, but it’s much shorter, and has an old church organ keyboard performance instead of that pulse in the background of the spoken words. “Satanae Regni” does the same, but the dialogue is dropped, leaving a haunting keyboard performance that wraps things up nicely.

All that being said, The Saints of Blasphemy – I: Baptized in Blasphemy is actually a pretty strong album. There are plenty of high energy Black Metal assaults found throughout the release. Unfortunately, “Drink from the Seven Chalices” and “Ritual Suicide” end up eating most of the nearly forty seven minute album length. Had they been cut down a bit, Neldoreth easily could have been left with a cool forty minute recording void of filler and repetition. This is definitely a step in the right direction for them, and it’s obious having that full band this time around helped to strengthen the performances in the studio, and surely will on stage compared to the karaoke style of recent years. Hopefully The Saints of Blasphemy – I: Baptized in Blasphemy is a sign that Neldoreth will continue to grow.

01. Diabolicae Baptismum (Intro) – 2:25
02. Baptized in Blasphemy – 6:31
03. Spawn of Creation – 5:48
04. Christian Despotism – 7:36
05. Drink From the Seven Chalices – 4:17
06. Ritual Suicide – 12:27
07. Abomination Proclaimed Through Heresy – 6:18
08. Satanae Regni (Outro) – 1:28
Initial Pressing Score: 7.5/10

Neldoreth (band)

Digital review copy of this release provided by Neldoreth.