Anthelion – Bloodshed Rebefallen – 4.5/5
Anyone who caught my review of Chthonic’s “Mirror of Retribution” would know I had nothing but praise for their ability to consistently improve, eventually resulting in one of last years highlights, but the days they can claim to be the black metal kings from their little corner of the world may soon be numbered. With a ten minute epic prog masterpiece providing the introduction, it doesn’t take long for you to realise that this isn’t a cookie cutter band we have here (though I must confess the vocals had me expecting a Chthonic clone), producing a slice of black metal magic unashamedly majestic in its style.
Almost power metal at times in the same vein as some modern melodeath in the manner high speed guitar melodies collide with neo-classical piano before the set up to the blackened fury; there are no simple backing chords for atmosphere used here. Everything is thin enough to not dominate the overall composition and is thus capable of working with one another, producing a dynamically shifting and meandering atmosphere through a combination of all the layers. The haunting choirs from ‘Bloody Matrimony’ setting up the high pitched, long drawn out painful cries over the twin guitars; the lead with his unrelenting frenetic pace whilst the bassist manages to plunder on with his own hard hitting melody.
The vocals are easily likened to those of Chthonic, but they are contrasted with deep growls to produce powerful but at times monotonous blackened shrieks, the drums doing all they can to ease the transitions between the various tempo’s with an almost psychotic manner to his performing, his rapidly changing pace lending an odd unpredictability to the music. It should be noted that none of the musicians feel worthy of being placed with the best; there are faster and more creative drummers, the neo-classical solo’s have been bested and so has the piano work, but it’s simply the manner they all work together, compositionally providing a constant variation to the benefit of the music at hand rather than some cliché idealistic notion of what black metal should be, demonstrating a haunting performance that doesn’t simply rely on speed to make itself known.
Considering this is their debut effort the results are more than impressive. It is their reluctance to follow the trends set by others that works to their advantage as this allows them to make their own mark on the style; this is Chaostar meets Chthonic with Moonsorrow’s epic tone and Emperor’s atmospheric keyboards; this is a new kind of harrowing evil, melodic and majestic whilst able to vary the tracks style with a seamless ease; and finally this is the metal album to bring me back from my picopop pleasures. If that isn’t enough of an endorsement I’m not sure what else I can say.
Highlights: Snake Corpse, Bloodshed in the Dark of Burning Hell, The Tome of Broken Souls
Their album can currently be purchased from their myspace site here