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Book of Black Earth's most recent album was the poorest excuse for blackened death metal that I've ever heard in my entire life. The album was repetitive, the riffing sucked, the production sucked, the atmosphere was dead as hell, and worse than the rest, there were the nails-on-a-chalkboard vocals constantly grating against one's ears. They had pissed away all of their potential greatness with that one. From where did that potential greatness come, you might ask? From this album. This album, in my humble opinion, is very underrated. Everything that made their most recent efforts sour was absent from this album.
The first thing that I must comment on is the production job. The production job was quite remarkable. I think they did a good job combining the production styles of both black and death metal, especially the guitar tone. Somehow they made the guitars add to the atmosphere of their black metal sound without taking away from the brutality of their death metal sound. Songs like The Dawn of Industry highlights their atmospheric black metal roots, while other songs like May Your God Deny You is reminiscent of an old school Belphegor song. The bass is buried under the drums, guitars, and vocals. Strangely, I don't really mind the buried bass sound because it fits with the music. If it were too bass-heavy, it'd take away from the black metal sound.
The drumming is just your standard blast beat abuse, but like the practically inaudible bass, I don't really mind that much because it strangely fits with the music. The vocals are actually done quite well and don't make you want to staple your ears shut. The vocalist mostly uses a typical low end growl, but he occasionally layers it with a black metal snarl that sounds nasty and demonic. I think that if the vocalist would have switched it up a bit, the album would be much more interesting. All in all, this album is a prime example of how much potential this band had before it flushed it down the shitter. I'd recommend that you listen to this album before checking out their other releases because this one is most definitely the greatest.
After seeing these guys live in 2006 I immediately jumped on this album. These guys are new, but, hands down, some of the best black metal I've ever heard. Not only that, but they're extremely unique as well. It's definitely not the same old black metal you always hear. I can't wait to hear more albums.
For this album, the production is surprisingly great. Everything seems mixed very well, and I can hear everything on a comfortable level. The first track of this album, "May Your God Deny You," is one of the strongest tracks. It jumps right in with a killer riff behind TJ's very well-executed vocals, and doesn't stop. In the next track, Occult Machinery, we hear more of Joe's awesome drumming, with some emphasis this time on the killer double-kick action. In my opinion, the riffs in this song aren't quite as catchy as the first, but they still suit the song perfectly. Let Us Worship The Dead features the first atmospheric intro of the album. It's very creepy, and Book Of Black Earth's real black style comes through when the unaccompanied vocal intro kicks in after a few seconds. They're so rough and black that it truly makes me want to go slaughter some Christians. The only downside to this song is it's shorter-than-usual length. I think this song could be even better if they continued it into a huge epic masterpiece.
Serve The Adversary is a slower song, but still evokes a strong sense of power and emotion with crunchy riffs, and more funeral doom droning vocals than what can be heard on the previous songs. Next, however, Agents Of Destruction comes back right in with the faster style riffs as a nice refresher. Although this song is less catchy than the others, in my opinion, it's still nice to have in there as a transition out of the feeling Serve The Adversary brought on. After this breather, one of the highlights of the album comes in. In Hatred And Misery begins with some of the most epic riffage yet on the album, cluing in to the awesome song that's coming. It's the longest song on the album, and filled with tempo changes and all the elements that make Book Of Black Earth amazing. The most notable parts of this song are Joe's drumming, Jeff's bass work, and the overall atmosphere and feeling of it. The Dawn Of Industry concludes this amazing album, and begins with an epic riff similar to that of In Hatred And Misery. The vocals in this song, I think, are the best on the album. They're mixed so they're not overpowering, but sound great with the rest of the music. Also, Hank's keyboard work stands out in this track possibly a bit more than the others, and sounds great. About a minute and a half into this one, also, we're greeted with about a 30-second drum breakdown that is both impressive technically, and incredibly brutal.
Overall album highlights: May Your God Deny You, In Hatred And Misery, The Dawn Of Industry.