Averse Sefira
Battle's Clarion

This band escaped my notice until recently. In the last few weeks I have seen many reviews touting this band as the best of American black metal. That seems lofty praise, but maybe not unwarranted. If not the best, definitely one of the better. One reviewer said “extremely dissonant and chaotic-more unlistenable than DARKTHRONE’s Transylvanian Hunger” That got my attention, I LIKE that album. I’ve read things like “played with tight control” and “insanely out of control”, kind of cool that they can give the exact opposite impression to two different listeners, and I can’t disagree with either of them. What first came to mind when I turned it on was VOIVOD’s Killing Technology. You would not confuse the two bands, but they share that feel of totally out of control unpredictability and breakneck speed time changes. I could describe the components of their music- noise samples incorporated into songs, technical and fast melodies, the use of vocals as an expressive instrument… sound familiar? They don’t seem very original when described this way. A cross between old EMPEROR, IMMORTAL and SATYRICON with IMMOLATION thrown in to liven things up.

Somehow their music is more than that, it works, I find I don’t dismiss it to the background, but concentrate on the details. They have the chaotic complexity of EMPEROR but not the majestic flair. I find the songs too short. With this style of music I think they should be longer and these guys seem to have the abilities to pull it off. The vocals are a weak point for me. Not awful, but nothing unusual either, typical old-school black metal. He has the shriek perfected, he just needs a little versatility. I like the death metal influences, definitely adds an American feel to an otherwise Scandinavian styling. This Trio is fully corpse-painted and says the paint is a component of their dedication to this form of music. I don’t need to see them to understand their dedication, but I think it adds to their presentation. Corpse paint is a big plus for this style of black metal.

Lyrically I can’t comment because my copy has no lyrics and there is no chance in hell of catching any words by listening. They say lyrically they are influenced by feelings of triumph, loss, camaraderie, betrayal …and a hint of epic poetry. “So many bands write endless songs about blaspheming this, christ- hating that…it’s so tedious and empty. We wanted to tell stories and get people to think about the message within those stories.”

These guys formed in 1996 and this is their 2nd release. I can’t comment on how they have progressed because I am not familiar with their first album, but I would recommend Battle’s Clarion to all fans of old school black metal. Fans of the more accessible symphonic style should probably stay away, probably too chaotic for you. While not a perfect release, definitely noteworthy, and a band to keep an ear out for in the future.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
June 7th, 2001

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