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Belligerent Intent‘s 2010 ep, Descending to Abaddon, was an unapologetically blasphemous, and at the same time technical and brutal masterpiece which instantly grabbed my attention for the band. With new guitarists Mike and Luke on board, the band this year finally releases their debut full length album, Seven Are They and what awaits fans of the band will be sheer brutality in the direction that the band has set with the Descending to Abaddon ep.
The haunting Intro puts a somewhat theatrical yet martial feel to the atmosphere, and is a nice buildup to the first proper track, Armies of the Maskim Hex, and this sinister feel will continue throughout the rest of the album, as what is present on Seven Are They will probably be some of the most brutal stuff ever put out by Belligerent Intent. Matt’s drumming, as usual, is one of the personal attractions as he blasts through most of the album with ease, yet displays versatility in being able to transit between styles, displaying the technical side of the band’s music. Then there is the twin-guitar attack of guitarists Luke and Mike, who litter the album with complex riffs. The usage of two guitars this time round has also expanded the sound of the band, and gives them more room for the exploration of ideas, and the shift in the guitar playing style is also evident through the lead guitars and solos that are on the album. Craig’s excellent bass playing is also shown on tracks like April Give Thee Eyes, and he completes the entire Belligerent Intent experience with his vocals, and the anger that is contained within is immediately felt by the listener.
The songs on Seven Are They also displays the growth in the band’s songwriting, and this comes across not only in the increased complexity in the song structures, but also in the variations that the band has included on the album. Rather than a complete 30-minute blast fest, tracks like The Left Hand of Sacrifice have some slower moments, where the band slowly builds up a climax before crushing the listener. Songs such as these also display the band’s leaning towards brutal death metal and the indulgence in pure brutality, taking a break from all the technicality so far. All these aspects are then further brought out by the excellent production quality on the album, allowing for each of the instruments to shine.
The pure Satanic imagery and the almost cheesy song titles like Fucking Burn in the Name of Satan only makes Seven Are They all the more enjoyable. Despite the release being a full length, Seven Are They lasts a mere 32 minute, and is only slightly longer than their Descending to Abaddon ep, yet this is more than sufficient for the band to get their point across in a short and sweet manner.