Misanthropic Rage – Hallucinatory Phenomena

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You’d expect a brutally heavy sound from a band titled Misanthropic Rage, and that’s exactly what they deliver on their fourth album Hallucinatory Phenomena. Formed in Masovia, this Polish collective have been pushing the boundaries of black metal for over seven years and have taken the genre into uncharted territory. With topics detailing hatred, pain and misery, Misanthropic Rage unearth light in the black, and while their doom-laden songs are not always easy listening, they’re always rewarding.

I often find myself drawn to musical extremities, be it hardcore punk or power-violence, and while I enjoy the odd blast of black metal, I can find my interest waning over the course of an album. Perhaps more than any other musical style, it’s a scene which is happy to exist within a prison of self-imposed parameters. That’s where Misanthropic Rage come into play, and the avant-garde spin they put on the genre adds fresh dimensions with a sound that blends death, doom and post-metal into a bubbling cauldron. This freshness they bring becomes immediately obvious on opening cut ‘The Personification Of Decaying Shell’, and not since Black Sabbath’s sophomore album have I heard a band crush with such effectiveness as which Misanthropic Rage display here. Some choice samples set a rather ominous tone, and it’s one that will echo throughout the album. Guitarist “AR” and bassist “W” also provide vocals, and on ‘Personification’ their call-back style works very well; one bold in the mix, the other emanating as if from the depths of hell, and both serve to highlight the other. Similarly, the razor-sharp guitar lines are tethered by Curse’s thunderous drumming, and it’s this tension of opposites which suggest parallel duality and makes Hallucinatory Phenomena a constantly engaging listen.

Misanthropic Rage have spent their entire recording career on Polish record label Godz ov War, and it’s a relationship which has helped the band develop and grow, with each release building upon the last. Subsequently, Hallucinatory Phenomena finds the band reaching a pinnacle of sorts; it’s symbolic of a band confident in their own powers and pushing at musical boundaries with their own signature sound. Take ‘The Afterworld’ for example, it’s a smorgasbord of all that’s good and heavy with that classic Cannibal Corpse crunch overlaid with blackened thrash and a nice doomy second half which transports the listener to another dimension. With only one of these tracks clocking in at under five minutes, this album tends to veer towards the epic, yet things rarely feel forced and the unexpected treats the band throw our way (such as the depressive black metal ‘Void’) give the album an almost progressive feel, and much of the delight derived from Hallucinatory Phenomena is not knowing in what direction they’ll veer next. The monolithic title track brings things to a shuddering conclusion and pulls all the album’s various strands into a cohesive whole; the overarching feeling on this record is of someone grappling with life’s existentialist issues, and the answers they find become a concrete overcoat.

The word on the street is that Misanthropic Rage have now split. If that’s true and Hallucinatory Phenomena proves to be their swansong, then they’ve certainly bowed out in style.

  • Reviewed by Peter Dennis.
  • Hallucinatory Phenomena is released via Godz Ov War and is available from here.
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Track List:

  1. The Personification Of Decaying Shell
  2. The Birth Of Insanity
  3. Further
  4. The Afterworld
  5. Void
  6. I Am
  7. Hallucinatory Phenomena

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