Blaze of Perdition
Near Death Revelations

I have always been a death metal fan, from the moment I first heard it all them years ago – the textures, the percussiveness, the shear brutality. But I have been very slow and finicky about black metal. I was never taken in by the undergrounder-than-thou shit, which I found to have the same amount of real integrity as any other fad. But there were fundamental ideals in black metal that appealed to me: building an atmosphere, letting chords ring, and the long-form compositional ethic that gives the better examples of the genre so much depth and intrigue. I came to realize that, when done well, black metal has gorgeousness I can’t fight.

Blaze of Perdition brings us a conglomeration of black and death metal that appeals to my appreciation of both genres. The black metal aspects are mainly in the song length, writing style, and in the ringing chords providing a heavy amount of atmosphere. The death metal is more to do with beefy production, throatiness of the vocals, and a tendency to emphasize percussiveness in execution. These are close things, of course, and they blend without seem into an almost genreless example of heavy metal richness.

The production expands and deepens the songs, giving each instrument the shine it deserves without creating an overly technical sound. The bass, for example, is given a real place to live in each song, rather than just existing as a forgotten Greek chorus for the guitars. The way it winds through “When the Mirror Shatters” gives the feel of an ancient ship’s keel splitting through roughened, dark oceans. It really moves the majority of the song, where the beat is marching and the guitars are ringing. This is music for such movement – toward glory or doom.

The guitars are clear in their cacophony, true to the best black metal traditions, but hefty and substantial. The same is true for the drum production, which is full and constant without being overwhelming. The mainly roaring, but occasionally pained and screeching vocals are mixed just about perfectly, neither being unhearable nor distractingly high in the mix. In fact, the mix is about perfect for this type of metal. Everything is complimentary, mutually supportive. Even the solos tend to emerge from the songs, rather than feel placed upon them.

Atmosphere is very important here, and sometimes it takes a little something away from the compositions. The ghostly voices and wailing leads that intersperse “Dreams Shall Flesh” appear a few more times than one would wish, but redemption in the form of straight ahead plunges of pure old school metal are around every corner, so this becomes a minor quibble. What is without question is the band’s dedication to darkness. Whether chugging, blasting or self-reflecting, these are heavy songs, gathered in shadow, moving through twilight and into black.

All in all, Blaze of Perdition brings us a record deserving our attention, if you are a lover of the deathened and blackened. It is moving and brutal, epic and abrupt, dark and pitch black.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chris Sessions
June 30th, 2015

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