Black Metal Roundup: Mormant de Snagov + Throne Below + Void Meditation Cult + Erimha

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Reviews by Jason Guest

Midlands Rocks is again swamped with more black metal from around the globe. From Finland we have Mormant de Snagov’s second album Derisive Philosophy, from South Africa’s Throne Below we’ve got their début full-length, Defy Deceit Destroy, Ohio’s Void Meditation Cult have released a split with, erm, themselves (you’ll see what I mean) entitled Sulfurous Prayers of Blight and Darkness, and we have Reign Through Immortality, the second album from Montreal’s Erimha. Read on McDuff…

Mormant de Snagov – Derisive Philosophy

Originating in 2008, Mormant de Snagov’s debut full length, Rise From The Void, appeared in 2010. After an EP and two demos in 2011, a split with Die Schwarze Sonne in 2012, here we are in 2013 with their second album, Derisive Philosophy. Sonically brutal throughout, what stands out on this album is the bass. An instrument that’s customarily buried or lost in even the best of black metal mixes, here it plays a vital role in the black aesthetic. Opening the album with an atmospheric bass line, the ominous weight of ‘Comatose’ is almost unbearable, the slow riffs, pulverizing drums, tortured melodies, and harsh vocals dragging the listener deeper and deeper into the turmoil before the opening bass line, drenched in reverb, closes the track. Atmosphere is all with Mormant de Snagov. The hatred flows faster with ‘Divine Dismemberment’, its dense air suffocating and its oppression ever-mounting. Relentless, the twisted riffs of ‘End Of My Thoughts’ are vine-like, wrapping themselves ever tighter around each other until the trem-picked, darkly melodic riffs emerge and the barbarism continues.

Rather than sticking to the usual, Mormant de Snagov flesh the blackened wasteland out with a bunch of other sonic devices that most black metal bands would steer clear of. In ‘Detrimental Edict’, the bass is again the driving force but the harmony guitar parts, the discordant arpeggios, the lead work, and the jarring chords that hang in the track’s polluted sky bring a whole other dimension to the album. And from ‘Abnormities’ through ‘Transient Lunar Phenomenon’ into closer ‘The Triumph’, the band’s innovation continues to make its presence felt.

Mormant De Snagov - Derisive Philosophy

With a death metal edge and a progressive element to their sound, this Finnish band have produced an incredible album that is very much deserving of your attention. Highly recommended.

8 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Comatose
  2. Divine Dismemberment
  3. End Of My Thoughts
  4. Detrimental Edict
  5. Abnormities
  6. Transient Lunar Phenomenon
  7. The Triumph

 

Throne Below – Defy Deceit Destroy

Appearing in the MR Inbox seemingly from nowhere comes the first full-length from South African one-man black metal band, Throne Below. Anti-religious to its core, this is as grim and filthy as the numerous and diverse influences that mainman Orlok cites as influences. Drawing on Norwegian, Greek, French, and Swedish BM for inspiration, Throne Below manages to balance the orthodox with the innovative. The raw and the primitive are juxtaposed with the tightly-wound and the hypnotic with plenty of melody thrown in. With impressive solos scattered across the album and the bass allowed to come to the fore for a number of surprise runs (and an equally impressive lead line in ‘Profane Ceremony’), Orlok takes more than a few chances and they pay off.

Also of note is the production as its much better than what one-man bands usually deliver with their first few releases. The guitars are jagged and ravaging, the bass is booming yet sharp, the vocals are razored and ruthless. And while the programmed drums are deep and the cold crash of the cymbals is cutting, the patterns can be monotonous here and there. With a real drummer, however, the album would be much improved. Orlok’s lyrics could do with sharpening up a little too. His anti-Christianity/anti-organised religion message is abundantly clear but his reliance on simple rhyme schemes and occasionally clichéd phrases take the edge off. But these are only minor flaws in what is an otherwise striking debut full-length. Recommended.

Throne Below – Defy Deceit Destroy7 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Unholy Cogitation
  2. Defy Deceit Destroy
  3. Dark Evocation
  4. Profane Ceremony
  5. Sombrous Ascension
  6. Sculpture Of Knowledge
  7. Destructor
  8. Heretic By Nature
  9. Attainment

Void Meditation Cult – Sulfurous Prayers of Blight and Darkness

Released through Hells Headbangers, Ohio’s Void Meditation Cult have brought together their 2009 demo Blight and Darkness – released under the name Sperm of Antichrist (charming) – with their 2010 demo Sulfurous Prayers, and despite the murky, lo-fi production of both, Sulfurous Prayers of Blight and Darkness (see what they did there? clever huh?) is monstrous. Simultaneously hypnotic and grating, the ritualistic atmospherics of all eight tracks are wrapped in unforgivingly raw riffs, obdurate and primitive rhythms, and gorily sharp and chilling vocals. Down-tuned and drenched in all the debris that this amount of distortion can generate, this is a satisfying and curiously cathartic listen. An album must surely be on the horizon.

VOID MEDITATION CULT - Sulfurous Prayers of Blight and Darkness - cover7.5 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Consecrated By Sacrifice
  2. Obedience To Evil
  3. All Of The Devil’s Temple
  4. Rite Of The Ruminant Dead
  5. Serpent Mass Litany
  6. A Pact In Stone And Skin
  7. The Majestic Doomed Kingdom
  8. Born Of The Blighting Angel

Erimha – Reign Through Immortality

Montreal’s symphonic blackened death sextet Erimha have been around since 2010, their first full-length, Irkalla, appearing that same year. An album abundant in epic, dramatic compositions, Erimha declared themselves a band to keep an eye on. Atmospheric and bleak, brimming with blasts aplenty and combining clean passages (and vocals) with unremitting savagery, Irkalla demonstrated a band with potential. Three years later, here we are with Reign Through Immortality and Erimha have again utilised all that made their debut an intriguing one but, sad to say, done little to improve upon it.

Though the symphonic elements are good – the bright keyboard sounds akin to Dimmu Borgir and their ilk – they are more suited to a low-budget action adventure/fantasy movie than a black/death metal album and so the album is unnecessarily deprived of what it could have been. The album soon comes to resemble more a modern metal album than anything else and this is compounded by the polished production. The musicianship is very good, each of the musicians clearly know how to get what they want out of their instruments, and Gore’s vocals, though fairly limited in scope, complement and compound the band sound. But there’s something missing, something that’s not quite there, it’s more style than it is substance, the glossy production further detracting from the overall impact. Closing track ‘Metempsychosis’ stands out above the rest of the tracks but that it’s ten-minutes long means that again, whatever impact it could have made is lost. With album number two, Erimha has moved closer to harnessing their sound but what they have produced lacks staying power. Instrumentally and vocally, they have little to worry about, but in terms of composition and innovation, they’ve a way to go. Not bad, but far from great.

Erimha – Reign Through Immortality6 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Enlightenment
  2. Ascetic
  3. Condemned To Desolation
  4. Bewildering Nightmare
  5. Saunter To Extinction
  6. The Ritual Of Internicion
  7. Metaphysic Countenance
  8. Verdict Of The Soul
  9. Cataclysmic Tides
  10. Metempsychosis