Chambers of Death

From Luxembourg hail some of the coldest sons of bitches you’ll ever meet.  The band in question is Plaguewielder; a doom paced, blackened affair with some of the most obnoxiously retched vocals I’ve ever heard.  This quartet is a pretty hypothermic affair aimed at leaving your carcass strung up in a meat-locker for future feasting.  Across Chambers of Death’s five deranged tracks you will be forced to bundle up and traverse an icy, Antarctic landscape where death is just another polar bear claw slash away.  Don’t get the idea that Plaguewielder is some sort of one fuck pony though.  There are musical surprises crammed into every corner of this dusty, derelict torture chamber.

Right from the opening screams of the lead-in cut “Existence is our Exile” it became clear to me that these guys got a few screws loose.  Guitarist/vocalist Nicholas O’Connell literally sounds as if he’s being stabbed in the stomach by a slow turning screwdriver.  I can’t make out a single word he says, although I appreciate the over-the-top agony n’ pain of his whole verbal aesthetic very much indeed…  The music follows in the vocals’ footsteps, keeping the trudge going strong with a dryly recorded, awesomely bare bones drum kit beaten beyond a pulp by Luis Muñoz and fetid, sewer reekin’ bass lines driving home the sludge.  O’ Connell’s guitars are mostly high-end; marked by drawn out tremolo shed, wolf ravaged melodies and a whole helluva lot of permafrost caking up the strings.  A midsection break blacker than a nuclear winter after midnight is a mess of tangled, dirge-y low-end grooves, tastefully classical synth/piano interjections and screams, screeches and growls from the 7th Circle of Satan.  I’m not sure who to compare this to…Plaguewielder has their own flavor and it’s delightfully spiced with enough compost to chase away the God fearin’ set.

“Drowned” begins with more undecipherable, hieroglyphic howls that sound like the kind of human noises you’d find in a snuff film.  The deadweight riffing and slamming percussive drops feel like a plummet straight down to hell…one way ticket kinda stuff with no return flight in sight.  Ugly, guillotine riffs are deadlier, sharper n’ doomier than the ones in the opening track and the piano feels like it was recorded while tumbling down five flights of cement stairs.  Christophe Trausch double-teams Nicholas’ riffage, raising the stakes of apocalyptic doom at the 2:50 mark, before ascending the arrangement upward into ambient, melodically solid trip-out frequencies (including an expressive, minimalist solo that’s a highlight).

Despite each song possessing plenty of merits, none stands taller from the pack than “Casket of Dying Flesh.”  The intro is an omnipresent drone which could have been lifted from any number of 50s sci-fi flicks.  Jangling guitar lines are hung from tree branches in a petrified forest while the drums pound their way across a tribal, badland brewed dirge.  Tension reaches a total snap when a buzzing, palm-muted doom riffs give way to carnival barkin’, 70s prog-organ runs that really grab the groove by the sack.  Keyboardist Maxime Weber really shines on every track, but here he absolutely runs away with the entire song.  Fuck!

If you ever wondered what a black metal tinged, prog-laced version of My Bloody Valentine would be like, “Father Suicide” just might be the answer to your question.  The multi-layered synthetics are downright gorgeous akin to a tear falling on a placid lake while the guitars glisten, drip and reflect in pools of contemplative calm.  Drums smash into a snare march and the bass is lushly orchestrated.  There’s still a psychotic shit-fuck to be found in the middle of the tune where those sludgy, downtrodden riffs whip into a frenzy as the vocals spit cyanide and the drumming explodes into maddening thrashes…but just when you can’t further suffering and more pain, the aggression dissolves into a crystal cascade of graceful texture work.  Closer “The Funeral March” is easily the most pulverizing cut on the record; 13 minutes n’ spare change of blackened, funeral doom puked up from the maw of hell.  It’ll hang you n’ fillet you without a second glance.

I’m way into this.  This entire album is a fuckin’ beast and I’m heartily enjoying the cautious juggle of disparate elements.  There’s not a weak track to be found and I can certainly listen to “Casket of Dying Flesh” on endless repeat.  Chambers of Death certainly isn’t just some old retread of familiar black, doom and post-rock standards that’s for damn sure.  Plaguewielder are doing their own thing and they don’t seem to give a flying fuck when it comes to holding tight to tradition.  Damn good stuff…really damn good!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
July 29th, 2015


  1. Commented by: xrefused

    I’m liking this shit! Sort of reminds me of An Autumn For Crippled Children in sound and spirit.

  2. Commented by: Jay

    Glad you dig it! This really is a sick record…both hideous and deformed yet really hypnotic and gracious.

    I don’t know An Autumn for Crippled Children but will mostly certainly check them out based on your recommendation.

  3. Commented by: Nicholas

    Hey man! Thanks for the kind words, and glad you enjoyed the album! Just wanted to clarify though, that I don’t play guitar, I play bass – guitar duties are taken by Christophe Trausch :)


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