Weapon: Embers and Revelations

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Weapon: Embers and Revelations
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Weapon: Embers and Revelations
Black Metal, Death Metal
Relapse Records
October 9th, 2012
Release length: 37:16
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Calgary, Canada natives Weapon have been a strong force to be reckoned with in the Black/Death Metal community. Formed back in 2003, they issued two EPs prior to their 2009 debut Drakonian Paradigm, which was followed up a year later with From the Devil’s Tomb. It’s been another two years, and the group has finally returned with their much anticipated third album, Embers and Revelations through Relapse Records. This also marks the first album to feature Rom Surtr of Minax on guitar, replacing Apostle VIII. But, does this new addition still leave Weapon as strong a force as ever, or does this effort not quite live up to fan’s expectations?

Much like their previous albums, Embers and Revelations does have a bit of a rougher audio quality to it. The guitars sound thick with a relatively low tuning and distortion at work, as does the bass that comes through more like an ominous rumbling. The drums match their tone with a thick snap to the snares and a deeper click to the bass kick that gets lost amid the rest of the kit, especially the crisp and not-that-much-louder cymbals. The vocals are largely guttural in a restrained manner, though still holding a good deal of enthusiasm. However, the rhasps that are used are met at the same hushed level, and at times can sound bored, greatly lacking the energy the opposite style has.

“The First Witnesses of Lucifer” is a great track that will have you bobbing your head along throughout once the rumbling reverb is done setting the stage. When the guitars kick in, a ritualistic rhythm comes in with very little energy, which it should. This is met with altered gutturals issuing a commanding performance one might expect of early Venom, switching to a mid-tempo chug with impressive leads that capture a NWOBHM presence. A little more than two minutes in, the pace picks up, taking all we have just been met with to harder heights, incorporating additional ethusiasm in the drumming and some of the faster fretwork that continues to increase and never look back. “Liber Lilith” is another that stands out, introducing itself with a very emotional guitar solo that is simply depressing until slamming into furious Black Metal full of blast beats and somewhat complex chords that send a chill in the air while grabbing you by the throat and refusing to let go. The intensity remains constant with the consistant pace that hammers away, only to evolve into a guitar solo that ushers in absolute chaos. The only gripe is that the bass guitar isn’t quite deep enough to make the the music any more blunt as it pounds away at the skull, but it does a good job during when the pace slams into a ritualistic breakdown full of gang chants to add to the atmosphere before slipping back into a more engaging additional guitar solo to end it all on.

Unfortunately, while the raw production sounds good and really sets the proper burdening atmosphere to the music, it also makes things fall on the dull side despite how catchy the music can be. “Vanguard of the Morning Star” is a superb example. While the chorus is great thanks to the lead chords used to give it an epic tone, the blasting Black Metal that makes up the main verses ends up sounding bored due to the restraint in the audio quality. In fact, it seems to take on more of an accessable, though still far from mainstream sound. Thankfully the full effect of this is pretty rare, and hits only the simpler mid-tempo and slower paced areas, including the closing of “Disavowing Each in Aum,” as well as much of “Shahenshah.” The latter is a simpler track that does tread into modern typical Black and Death Metal, but the intensity behind the music works to capture the listener, even if the bland output doesn’t make it too engaging outside of the infectious rhythm that will find you banging your head along to it, especially in the chorus. However, much like with “The First Witnesses of Lucifer,” this sound does work to make “Embers and Revelations” an authority soaked memorable offering. The bass kicks hammer away for the most part, shifting between slow and equally fast paces in the cymbals and snares against what could best be desribed as mentally unstable guitar riffs. There are some additional haunting Black Metal chords that appear periodically, but in all honesty they aren’t all that necessary to this headbang worthy offering, feeling more tacked on than beneficial to the progression.

Embers and Revelations is definitely is a mixed bag of extreme offerings. The variety between Death Metal and Black Metal are pretty obvious from track to track, and there’s no denying a strong NWOBHM influence to this recording, and even some of the melodic tendencies that appear here and there. Either way, the quality largely stems from whether the restrained raw audio will work for or against the music, though it often seems to benefit more than take away from the experience. There’s no denying many songs could have been a lot stronger if more energy had been present, but much of the album carrying the ritualistic sense that is introduced right at the start does at least put it all into perspective. Fans of Weapon definitely will not be let down, and depending on how they approach the aforementioned production of the album, many may end up appreciating this one a lot more than others will. Either way, Embers and Revalations makes for a strong entry into the Weapon discography.

01. The First Witnesses of Lucifer – 4:48
02. Vanguard of the Morning Star – 4:20
03. Crepuscular Swamp, Unhinged Swine – 5:15
04. Liber Lilith – 4:59
05. Grotesque Carven Portal – 2:28
06. Embers and Revelations – 3:52
07. Disavowing Each in Aum – 5:27
08. Shahenshah – 6:07
Overall Score: 7.5/10
Weapon (band)
Weapon
Digital review copy of this release provided by Relapse Records.