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It was the early 90s when death metal swept the metal world and many bands; Morbid Angel, Death, Deicide and Cannibal Corpse among others experienced some commercial success. The only problem with this was record companies trying to cash in on it, resulting in many bands being dropped from their labels (their disbanding to ensue) because they didn’t match the success of the more prominent death metal bands, before they’d had a chance to release their full potential. Bands such as Electrocution, Infester and Rottrevore were all victims of this phenomenon, who made great, albeit immature albums that showed boundless untapped potential hindered by inexperience (except for arguably Rottrevore), promising great music to come but never being given the chance to develop their sound. The same phenomenon could be witnessed in thrash metal and grindcore of the 1980s.
Blasphereion are a perfect example of this. Rest in Peace is an album that despite its flaws has a strong sense of direction and meaning to it. The riffs are simplistic and primitive when compared to most of the band’s contemporaries, but it doesn’t detract from the music, which still has the same effect as that of their more technical peers. At times their ideas seem under-developed, but this is only to be expected of a band’s debut album, especially considering that they skipped the demo process. It’s not the kind of album that any death metal fan can pick up and enjoy, as it leans towards a doom-death metal hybrid and focuses on creating an atmosphere rather than a mosh pit. An air of desolation and decay is evident in most of the songs, although there are a few that are completely void of it. Blast-beating is used sparingly and to great effect when it is used, although one could complain about the overuse of the double-kick. The bass, an instrument often neglected in this kind of music, is relatively high in the mix for a death metal band.
Anybody who has read a few of my reviews or posts on the forum will know that I have an affinity for satanic death metal. It’s definitely a subject that fits death metal better than any other genre, and is the main focus of Blasphereion’s lyrics (as you probably guessed by their name). Song titles like ‘Church of Lies’, ‘Demon’s Blood’ and ‘At the Bounds of Madness’ are far from original but they’re still good fun. The vocals are gutturals in the vein of Suffocation and are completely inhuman (a difficult effect to achieve with this standard of production). There’s virtually no variation in the vocals, and when the band gets an atmosphere going, the vocals suit it perfectly, but in the few songs where no atmosphere is present, they add to the stagnation.
Blasphereion’s brand of death metal was not very innovative but it did have a touch of uniqueness to it, which could have been developed on later albums if they were given the chance to continue. It’s a shame when record companies drop bands like this and on top of this Blasphereion faced the obstacle of looking for a market in a country where the market was virtually non-existent (Belgium). To wrap it up, Rest in Peace is a good debut that promised better things. It’s not a classic album by any means but it is something that most fans of the genre should enjoy.