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I have always found bands like Australia's Drowning the Light fascinating, with the huge discography that they have so far, made up of numerous releases in a year, which made me think that there is no way that any other band can beat them in terms of releases. However, I chanced upon Benighted in Sodom and was completely blown away. In 2010 alone, mastermind Matron Thorn has put out 10 releases, of which 5 are full lengths.
Reverse Baptism is Benighted in Sodom's first full length release of 2011 and it would certainly be interesting to see how Matron Thorn's mind works through this release. With so many releases under his belt, it would be obvious that I have not encountered any music of Benighted in Sodom besides Death in Space, so pardon the comparisons (or rather, the lack of) with other releases.
The album opens with Sweetness Depraved, with soothing, clean guitar lines, leaving listeners in a dreamy state of mind, sounding almost like a post-rock album, unlike Death in Space where the listener is immediately thrown into a myriad of black metal riffs. It is not until after about 3 minutes that the real chaos is thrown towards the listener, with the highly distorted riffs and the harsh vocals of Matron Thorn layered on top of the same melodic guitar lines amidst the mix. The song alternates between the clean sections between the "black metal" sections, and to good effect as well, sounding almost like an extremely polished (in terms of production quality) version of atmospheric black metal bands such as Fen.
The band also makes use of vocal effects to change the atmosphere. For example, while using the same guitar lines throughout Sweetness Depraved, the band has managed to change the mood of the track from soothing to having a haunting effect simply through the usage of a vocal line layered with the guitars. In addition, the depressive and desolate sounding guitar riffs, along with the tortured vocal style of Matron and backed by the frantic drumming of G certainly aids in bringing out the desperate and suicidal tendencies of the mentally unstable listener, such as on the ironically titled Chains of Bliss. Matron also displays his clean vocals on tracks such as Try to Forget Us, a haunting bass-baritone, reminiscent of gothic legends Type O Negative's Peter Steele.
While this musical fare and pattern remains consistent throughout the album, there is not a single boring moment at all on the album. Songs are written in such a way that they sound connected, almost like a complete 1 hour masterpiece instead of an album with 7 individual tracks as the songs transit seamlessly from one to another. Songs such as Ocean - Part I and Ocean - Part II display the brilliance in songwriting capabilities of Matron and the whole range of influences he has put into the music of Benighted in Sodom. Even the 8 minute long instrumental track, Reverse Baptism remains interesting throughout, never seeing the band let their guard down for even a moment at all.
This being the second Benighted in Sodom album that I encounter, has left me with a deep impression, and it certainly is a wonder how bands such as this are able to keep up in terms of creativity looking at the number of releases that they have each year. Definitely recommended if one is feeling suicidal and looking for a soundtrack to die to.