Title: Acts of Repentance
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
Release date: 20 March 2020
Format reviewed: Digital Promo
Australia has an interesting involvement in the black metal scene, and the world needs to know more about it. It’s bizarre to think that a tropical country below the equator where most of the flora and fauna can kill you can produce some super high quality black metal bands that are quite often in danger of overshadowing what comes out from Europe, the UK, and America. Notably, bands such as WOODS OF DESOLATION, DESTORYER 666 and the superb NAZXUL who yours truly had the great fortune to see playing Damnation festival many moons ago in the first ever UK appearance. WARDAEMONIC, in particular, have been around since 2005 and formed after AVANTGUARD split up with their debut album ‘Through The Dark Pale Gravelands’ in 2006 taking the underground metal world by surprise with a finely honed blend of black metal that calls upon influences by MAYHEM, IMMORTAL, and ANGELCORPSE with a nice mix of Swedish styled black metal melody into the mix for dramatic effect. They’ve been absent for 5 years since the release of ‘Obsequiem’ but have set aside any worries of their absence with ‘Acts of Repentance’; soon to be released on Transcending Obscurity Records on high quality download from Bandcamp and a CD version with an 8 panel digipack, on gold paper with UV embossing. So far, it’s not known if there will be a vinyl release.
The cynics amongst you may initially read the track listing and notice there’s only five tracks, and wonder if this impedes on the impact the album. Well, that’s instantly cast aside as soon as you hit the play button and ‘Act I – Introspection’ whirs into life. Thundering blastbeats proceed to rip the listener’s head off and flay away the skin, whilst shredding guitar riffs proceed to shred apart household furniture due to the ferocity of the opening track. Oddly, there’s a very slight flavour of metalcore in the first track for some reason that’s a bit strange in the slower sections, that kicks up pace once more with dramatic effect. As a point of reference, the style is reminiscent of 1349’s glorious ‘Hellfire’ album with the occasional slowed down riff that pops up with a strange death metal-esque quality. It seems the album is comprised of interesting snippets of musical DNA making for a terrifyingly nasty slab of black metal, like the aural equivalent of those garbled alien creations witnessed in that cult 1980s horror film ‘The Thing’ that proceeds to chew your ears, brain, and speakers apart.
The ferocity of the performance on the album is quite extraordinary, the whole structure and musicianship poured into the record makes for an extremely captivating listen – especially when you spot the distinctly Norwegian black metal emulating textures in ‘Act II – Admission’ that really draws the listener in effectively. ‘Act III – Castigation’ is one of the longest tracks on the album clocking in just over 12 minutes, that’s very engaging thanks to a mix of slow tempos and growled vocals with spiralling complex riff patterns that steps up to an astonishing breakneck speed, that continues on throughout varying in pace to make for a compelling listen with a good variety of soundscapes woven into it. ‘Act IV – Sufferance’ is quite surprising due to the usage of chanted choruses in parts and some incredible WINDIR-esque lead guitar riffage, and it’s great because it catches you completely unaware and adds to the album’s super dramatic presence. The closing track ‘Act V – Repentance’ works as an effective closer, picking the route of the opening track by tearing the listeners head off a second time before it exits with a whirlwind of chaos as it departs.
To conclude, even though we’re in the first quarter of 2020 it’s safe to say Wardaemonic have released a massive black metal banger that will make people’s album of the year lists without question. A finely crafted, brutal, and sonically menacing release of black metal ferocity. 9/10 Goth Mark
9/10 Epic Storm
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