Deathcode Society
Unlightenment

What’s in a name? Well, I have to admit I’m shallow enough I passed up this promo when it first showed up in my inbox as the name Deathcode Society did little to draw my interest. Then, while listening to a symphonic black metal playlist on Spotify, the track “Scolopendra”, played, and my attention was immediately sucked in.

A little research into this French band shows that it was originally started as a one-man project by the frontman for industrial metal act Sybreed, Benjamin Nominet, who only hung around to deliver a demo before other members jumped in. And those other members now include members of medieval epic black metal band Glaciation, and somehow British Guitarist Mike Barber from Wizardthrone.

So I dug deep into Unlightenment and was greeted with one of 2023’s best symphonic black/death albums, that delivers 52 minutes of sheer bombast. Like a fine French wine, I’m greeted with notes of fellow countrymen Anorexia Nervosa (notably 2004 Redemption Process), and a heavy front nose (is that a wine thing?) of Sweden’s Grief of Emerald and their 2012 effort It All Turns to Ashes.

So with the album opener “Scolopendra”, already impressing my palette, its second track “Shards”, where I’m blown the fuck away by the band’s blistering, but epic intensity fueled by big, brash brass blowouts and some clean vocals scattered around.

But the band isn’t just about a nonstop, ferocious take (though the next track “La nuée” is just that) on the usually swirly goop of symphonic black metal, as they can get a little more creative with the genre as heard on the likes of “Scales”, with its more adventurous choral and vocal arrangements or “Mazed Interior” where Emperor’s latter technical motifs can be clearly heard (bolstered by Arnhwald Rattenfänge’s Ihsahn-ish rasp).

The album end cap of the 10-minute “À la néante” and 8-minute “Narcosis” shows a band in command of their style, but assuredly ambitious with it as well. The former, is a patient expansive track with more latter Emperor twistiness (especially the bass of Nicolas S) and lengthy atmospheric moments, while the latter after its initial brass heavy bluster, injects some haunting, creepier themes and female vocals to close out, befitting the sleep deprived song title.

Enlightenment is a fucking phenomenal album, that has been steadily creeping up my year-end list the more I listen to it.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
December 11th, 2023

Comments

  1. Commented by: Deathcode Society

    Thank you very much Erik for this review. We could not asked more than our album been appreciated this way and it warms our heart.
    There is just a minor thing to correct, but as we were not very talkative about our founding years, it’s probably worth mentioning the fact the project, though having been fronted by Benjamin N. from Sybreed, was not his project but a band whose founding members, Grégoire (drums) and Arnhwald (vocals) are still part of, the later having switched from guitar to singing when Ben left the band before the first album. So it was more of a two men band + a hired singer from the start, and then, you are right, it eventualy became a real band when “Eschatonizer” was released in 2015.
    Best regards.


  2. Commented by: Erik T

    Thank you for the clarification!


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