Originally formed under the moniker Summon, a name change has found Portugal’s Blasphemous Fire reborn and rising, phoenix-like, ready to take on the world. Their first release under their new name is the album Beneath The Darkness, a record that finds them shedding their blackened roots in favour of a more direct death metal approach. Featuring nine skull-crushing cuts, this is an album that’s sure to propel the band onto bigger things.
Opening track ‘The Eclipse And The Birth’ is the perfect mission statement, and as the title suggests, it is indicative of the band’s newfound prowess. A ferocious slab of metal that is powered forth by some relentless, epileptic drumming, it threatens to go off the Richter Scale, yet as you’d expect from a band of this vintage, they know when to pull back and insert slower passages amongst the faster. This ensures that this opening track (and, indeed, the whole album) ululates like some strange organic life form, it almost breathes as the push and pull between fast and slow echoes throughout Beneath The Darkness. Belying its title, ‘Heavenly Bodies’ seems to emanate from the very depths of hell, and the tonality the band employ is very unsettling, and this cut would make a fine accompaniment to a depraved serial killer dismembering a corpse.
The great thing about Blasphemous Fire is that there are no extraneous frills; their sound is stripped to the bone with all the excess fat removed. Subsequently, songs such as ‘Pleasure Of Suffering’ become short, sharp shocks that go straight for the jugular. They don’t use two notes when one will suffice, and there is a power derived from their tight focus. Yet, you shouldn’t write the band off as generic, because there’s a lot of variety on offer and the following ‘The Torture Of Being’ swings like a hangman’s noose, with the band stretching notes to impossible lengths which creates a sense of dread and foreboding within the listener.
Featuring a haunting introduction that conjures all sorts of discombobulating images, ‘Compulsion Of The Hand That Kills’ has a central riff which could easily trade blows with Black Sabbath, and drums that sound as if they are played by a spider who has been overdosing on amphetamine. If proof were needed as to the drummer’s stamina, then he continues his blistering attack on final cut ‘Those Who Die Dwell In Me’, and the two conspire to make for a cataclysmic conclusion; they are a couplet that weigh heavy, and offer little in the way of redemption. The feedback at the song’s tail becomes a ghostly wail, and becomes a haunting ending to an album that will linger long in the memory.
There is a beauty to be found in their brutality, and if proof were needed then it is to be found Beneath The Darkness.
- The Eclipse And Birth
- Heavenly Bodies
- Pleasure Of Suffering
- The Torture Of Being
- The Pale Colors
- Allowed Wishes
- The First Victim
- Compulsion Of The Hand That Kills
- Those Who Die Dwell In Me