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The work of Vincent Crowley’s Acheron has always been a bit of a mixed bag for me. The band’s debut album is revered in some circles as a death metal masterpiece, whereas the rest of their discography is seen to be as patchy as a metal head’s denim jacket. Personally, I do think he’s written some really good stuff (the bands demo material, for example, is excellent). However, none of the band’s actual full length releases has ever come close to being called a ‘classic’ by me.
With the band’s 7th full length studio album (and first in 6 years), the one thing you can always rely on as with all Acheron’s material is unrelenting death metal with a vehement hatred for Christianity and a raging stiffy for Satan. Strangely though, I’d oft thought that it was the most overpowering element of the band, with their overtly Satanic manner always being put at the forefront over more important factors such as… well… the music(!). Thankfully, this time around the music is generally very good, with intelligently written lyrics and fairly complex, appealing arrangements to be heard throughout. However, the main difference for me this time around is that the band doesn’t seem to be treading water as they have often in the past, and actually seem pretty focused on writing good death metal, rather aping previous efforts by piecing generic, uninteresting songs around the Satanic preachings of Crowley.
Whether it’s the numerous line-up changes, Crowley’s extra-curricular activities as a Priest in the Church of Satan for many years, or simply something as simple as style over substance – I think it’s fair to say Acheron never actually fulfilled their potential. With that said, this is the most vital Acheron have sounded for years, with this album definitely being a large step in the right direct. Be it a case of being too little too late, I think only time will tell.
Originally written for www.metalcrypt.com
This is the seventh full-length album from Acheron, an American band playing death metal.
The production on this record is relatively clear, though the rhythm guitars are a good bit crunchier than they were on Rebirth: Metamorphosing into Godhood. The snarled vocals are right up front in the mix, as are the lead guitars, and the drums are perfectly audible, with a nice, crisp cymbal sound. Even the bass is easy to pick out, making this the perfect production for this band.
In terms of songwriting, this is easily the band's best album since "Anti-God, Anti-Christ". The album's concept (an Armageddon war fought between the three religions of the book, sparked by a secretive Satanic organization) unifies the album and provides the perfect lyrical vehicle for the band's philosophy. As a result, the individual songs are shorter, tighter, and more powerful than those on the last record, packed full of vicious solos and catchy riffing. The use of shouted backing vocals also adds plenty of punch, especially during "Blood Oath (Pactum Tacitum)", a driving, aggressive track with unapologetically Satanic lyrics. "I Am Heathen" is the record's obvious "single", with rather modern-sounding start-and-stop riffing and a shouty, repetitive chorus. It's still recognizably Acheron, but it's a bit of a sore thumb nonetheless. "Godless (We Are Gods!)" makes up for it with swaggering, mid-paced riffing and memorable vocals. The instrumental break in the middle is also really exceptional, with tons of great guitar work. "Power And Might" is another favorite of mine; the title is apropos, as its epic, disdainful atmosphere makes it one of the best tracks on the album.
Those who like mid-paced, solo-heavy death metal should look no further than Acheron. Their early work is much better than this, but The Final Conflict is still a very worthy addition to their canon... and if you already like this band, there's no reason not to get this! Recommended.
Standout tracks: "Blood Oath (Pactum Tacitum)", "Godless (We Are Gods!)", "Power And Might"