Dark Celebration
Phlegeton: The Transcendence of Demon Lords

What to make of Brazil’s Dark Celebration and its sophomore full-length, Phlegeton: The Transcendence of Demon Lords; that is indeed the question. It’s actually not that complicated. First and foremost, the vibe is one of vintage death metal with blackened edges and an atmosphere that approaches that whole Latin American dark ‘n dirty death metal quality that is no doubt developed from worshipping at the altars of the ancients.

As far as delivery and songwriting are concerned, it’s not-too-shabby old school brutality with melodic (in an obsidian kind of way) flourishes. In a very general sense, Abominant is the first group that comes to mind for comparison purposes, except Dark Celebration is a darker and somewhat looser act, making the references to The Chasm you may have read about at least partially accurate.On the up side, the seven tracks are not only blasphemous ‘n blast beaten, but also relatively varied. A dual vocal approach with an emphasis on the mid-to-high range vocals, smartly accented and/or accompanied with low-end growls join a blur (as in both hellish cyclone and treble-heavy blurriness) of riffage and whirlwind drumming that is organic; unfortunately, the kicks get lost in the mix. In a holistic sense, the album has a powerful, piping-hot runaway-train-to-Hell way about it, which compensates for relatively uneven songwriting.

Qualifying though, there are no “bad” songs on this one, only a few that could use some work in the arrangement department. While success is achieved on tracks like “Reversed Creation,” “Sulphur,” and “Ocularis Infernum,” it is on a tune like “Legacy of Fire” where good intentioned ambition results in some weak moments, namely the awkward – flat even – melody, and the odd use of interspersed spoken vocals. I will however give the band major kudos for including the sample “God is not here today, Priest” from “The Exorcist: The Beginning” on the song, and only because I love that friggin’ quote and think that it should be uttered at least once per week in households across this god-fearing, hypocritical nation of ours. There is something a tad askew about the guitar harmony on “Soul’s Harvester Machine” too, the track also appearing on the Dark Celebration split with Sodamned entitled The Damned Celebration.

If it seems like I’m nit-picking, then give yourself a goddamned cookie because you’re absolutely right. Notice that nowhere did I indicate that fans of infernal, Christ-crushing death metal shouldn’t at least check out Phlegeton: The Transcendence of Demon Lords. It is a decent enough disc; I just found that it could use some tweaking. Besides, that’s what we metal critics do, nit pick. So send us all straight to Hell with fountain pens lodged in our lower bowels! What do you want from us?

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Scott Alisoglu
August 17th, 2009

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