Wisconsin based,  metal collaboration (Shroud of Despondency‘s Rory Heikkila, Khazaddum’s Luka Đorđević and Enabler’s Brian Serzynski), Prezir (Serb-Croatian for ‘contempt’) is back with album number 2 after dropping a vicious little ep in 2017 and a solid full length debut on 2018 and the now trio, appears to really have further honed in on a slicker more melodic style of 90s second wave black metal.

Don’t fret, not melodic as in synth-laden or wispy atmospheric black metal but slightly less black/thrash and a much larger emphasis on blazing, tremolo-picked riffs akin to say Marduk or Dark Funeral. But there is also a noticeable increase in lead work and killer solos that elevate the material further and make it much more memorable than just blistering blackened salvo, which is often still is. But there is a development here (longer songs also) that shows this band is really starting to find a groove, albeit a cold, vicious one.

The more complete development is fully on display on opener “Sacrificed, the Honor Dead”, where Heikkila unleashes a gorgeous solo at about the 4:40 mark that’s really attention-grabbing and signals the band’s increased maturity and development. And those sort of moments are littered throughout the album (“Terrors of the Steppe”) , but still delivers plenty of moments of teeth-gnashing ferocity such as  “Emissary Artifice”, “Deprivation Doctrine”,  “Feasting from the Cradle”. Or there is plenty of something that does both in a personal favorites,  “The Falcon and the Lionheart”, triumphantly shrill but blisteringly melodic “Krvoproliće i Propast” and “Peasantry Messiah” which rounds things out with a slightly somber vibe, but still rendered with melodic but seething confidence and intensity that seems to be leaning into Sühnopfer territory, that arises a few other times in the album’s more melodic moments.

Đorđević has a perfect, unrelenting rasp and shriek and the bristling production/mix/master from  by Dan Klein at Iron Hand Audio in Chicago (Nucleus, House of Atreus, Diocletian), is razor-sharp and lets every note slice your skin with surgical precision.

While not a major name is USBM yet, they should be and will be soon with this sort of development and delivery that easily compares with their European brethren and US peers alike.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
January 6th, 2021


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