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2010′s World Cremation got me instantly hooked onto Denouncement Pyre‘s brand of black metal, further cementing Australia’s standing in underground extreme metal. After 3 long years, Decaylust and co. finally release the follow up in the form of Almighty Arcanum, with an updated lineup with R. on drums and L. on bass.
What has set Denouncement Pyre apart from their numerous bestial black metal counterparts such as Bestial Warlust and the likes has always been their focus on the atmospheric aspects in the music, and this is pretty evident right from the introductory track Intro: Breath of Tehom, sending chills down the listener’s back with the ominous mood and the sounds of water dripping, with haunting chants placing one in the midst of a haunted, abandoned chapel. As soon as the album starts off proper with An Extension of the Void, one instantly notices the growth in the band’s musicality and songwriting. While the elements that made World Cremation such a charm are still present, Denouncement Pyre this time presents a sound that is more Swedish sounding, with the riffing patterns and song structures being rather similar to bands such as Marduk and Watain. At the same time, Decaylust’s vocals are still as blood-soaked and tortured as ever, sounding like a cross between Mortuus and E (of Watain), complementing the atmosphere and the chaos that he provides with the chaotic guitar solos, especially on the title track.
Apart from that, the entire atmosphere and mood on Almighty Arcanum also resemble Watain, especially in their latest opus Lawless Darkness with things such as the majestic tone of the drums of R, who provides much of the huge sound that is on the album. Also, unlike World Cremation, things are not so much a complete speed fest on Almighty Arcanum, with Denouncement Pyre cleverly mixing different stylistics together to enhance the overall listening experience. Longer tracks such as An Extension of the Void and album closer The Redeemer see the band make use of slower and trance-inducing sections to ensure that tension in the air remains high throughout, and despite having the same repetitive riff being looped over and over again, this only serves to increase that sense of unease that one feels as Almighty Arcanum progresses.
Almighty Arcanum sees Denouncement Pyre taking things up a notch from World Cremation, and while the stylistics aren’t exactly original, the band has certainly managed to execute their craft in a highly competent manner, and this is definitely a positive step forwards that would keep me looking out for the band in the years to come.
Australia’s own black metallers, Denouncement Pyre, have returned again after 2010’s critically-lauded full-length release "World Cremation" with the equally well-named "Almighty Arcanum". Fans who enjoyed the band’s previous effort will find this new release to be the gratifying finishing touch to the endearing epicness that Denouncement Pyre established for themselves with "World Cremation", a foundation that helped seal the band’s status as one of Australia’s darkest black metal exports.
For those who have not heard the band’s previous effort, the new album will still tug at all the right strings, that is if you’re crazy for black metal. They meet all the standard criteria: morbid lyrics, searing guitars, unrelenting rhythm, and evil atmosphere. But this band possesses an edge over the horde of black metal bands the record industry is spewing out these days, an edge that stems from sheer quality. Like most black metal songs, Denouncement Pyre's songs all have their foundation laid on a strict and fast drum rhythm. That being said, the band carries on their motto of quality by not settling with the simple kicker rhythm. They go on to infuse carefully constructed atmospheres into their songs, which is a wise move seeing as it does its part to enshrine the tone and feel of the record.
A perfect example of the band’s great use of atmosphere is in the first track itself, “Intro: Breath of Tehom”. Now, I don’t know who Tehom is, but I’m assuming his breath must be one hell of a killer because that was one truly scary track. The band’s technical prowess and musical message shines through their more violent, heavy tracks such as “Almighty Arcanum” and the thunderous “Circle Of Serpents”. Both efforts are incredible black metal pieces with attitude to boot.
Vocalist Decaylust has a deeper voice with a more concrete growl in contrast with the more airy, high-pitched typical black metal screams. There are a variety of riffs present on the album from fast shredding to slower, more ominous chugging. Throw in that nice dose of atmosphere that the band loves so much and you’ve got one vivid record. Followers of Marduk, Enthroned, and Angelcorpse will find this record to be running in a similar wavelength. Even Watain, now black metal’s hottest representative, will be seen to share the same kind of thoughtful, quality work with the band.
Denouncement Pyre has managed to wow me with their efforts, if not intimidate my eardrums into making me proclaim them as Satan’s favourite musicians, and in Denouncement Pyre's case, the more Satan seems to like them, the better off they are.
Originally written for http://www.metal-temple.com.
The second album from Australia’s rising black/death metal horde Denouncement Pyre is one of the finer examples of Australian extreme metal and have produced one of the better black metal releases of the year, as this will surely be at or near the top of many best-of lists months from now despite being released so early on, it’s that impressive and bodes well for the group in the future.
With intro ‘Breath of Tehom’ setting the stage for the events to come, proper first track ‘Extension of the Void’ starts off with the band in full-force, kicking in immediately without any build-up with it’s hellfire-like riffs, pounding drums and caustic vocals that blast through at warp speed, recalling a faster Grief of Emerald at times, especially on the eerie middle which features the band riffing for what seems like ages but manages to keep the ferocity and intensity intact. The title track continues the tradition with a rather blaring guitar tone and a thunderous drumming display that marks off one of the finest tracks on the album as well as one of its fastest, along with other stand-out speed-freak ‘The Deceiver’ generating some strong influences with its unholy guitars and frenetic pacing. The other great track here, ending cut ‘The Redeemer’ with its’ precision-drumming and extreme tempo changes makes for a wholly impressive offering that just seems to get better as the song winds through it’s epic-length running time featuring solos and an epic outro-piece that is quite impressive, offering some of the best representative work of the band as a whole.
Even second-tier tracks, like ‘He Who Conquers All’ or ‘Circle of Serpents’ are rather fun here, which is quite nice to see since there’s those really impressive riffing done that screams infernal black metal to their core, great drum-work and caustic vocals that not only work for their style of music but really create a properly imposing atmosphere here that makes this such a blast to listen to. That is very well one of the defining points of the album, that it is so dark and atmospheric that is generally represented by the old-school black metal groups but here is mixed with the death metal influences to offer up a really good offering that is as catchy as extreme metal will get but is handled just perfectly here as the songwriting is far beyond their years to be able to mix them together throughout so effectively.
There’s not too much to dislike here, as the rather brief running time is rather difficult to get a handle on initially until it’s realized that two of the tracks are instrumental solo takes that barely last a minute leaving this with seven proper songs. While this isn’t necessarily a real problem, the fact that there’s just not a lot of time here makes this one seem to go by so quickly that right when it gets good there’s the ending track so it appears to end on a quick note which isn’t so bad at times but here tends to make this feel too brief. As well, the drum-patterns throughout are impressive but tend to be too weak in the mix, standing to get bumped up a notch and come through even more forcefully but which is overall not a detrimental flaw here at all and makes this one stand up as one of the best efforts so far.
If 2010's World Cremation was the right hook pummeling you to the arena mat, then Almighty Arcanum must be the pinning maneuver, because it more or less takes everything I enjoyed about that album and fleshes it out into a more appreciable set of songs that had me straining my neck in bestial, barbaric deference. Like the last album, the worst I can ever say for Denouncement Pyre is they lack a real sense for creativity or innovation, but when you're having as much fun as you will listening through these tracks, then that shouldn't prove a hindrance in eagerly recommending this to the followers of groups like Deströyer 666, Marduk, (90s) Enthroned, (late 80s) Bathory, Angelcorpse, Bestial Warlust, and other purveyors of comparable, cacophonous, blitzkrieg bombast.
This is a fast record, but not to a fault. Blasting sequences are measured out against slower, warlike segues where the drums are just as intense, like artillery treads about to crush a few hillocks of human bones. As with the prior album, the band accrues more black metal brownie points than death (for a hybrid), but you can feel the presence of the latter medium through the more robust, growled vocals. What separates the Australians from a number of similar, savagery-borne outfits who try to thrive on simple formulas of blasts and tremolo patterns is that Denouncement Pyre fuse a little more atmosphere into even the most standard numbers like "An Extention of the Void" and the eerie keening behind the meaty bridge riff; or the slower, ominous riffing of "The Deceiver". That said, they truly shine when they barrel forward through pieces such as the titular "Almighty Arcanum" or the superb, driving "Circle of Serpents". If you're not throwing your horns at the abyss within about :30 of the early riffs in these, then you're probably late for Communion, clearly in the wrong place. Almighty Arcanum is not filled to the bloody gills with excellent, memorable rhythms, leads, or transitions, but it's entirely well put together, a noteworthy opus of infernal craftsmanship.
Much of this can be attributed to the emboldened, incendiary production, which transforms what might otherwise be the most banal of riffing sequences into a poignant discharge of bright, intimidating anger. The drums and vocals sound great, but the guitars have an exemplary mix whether they're surging along in some black/thrash configuration, twisting into a vile tremolo picking, or a more solemn, crushing abrasion. Bass is not too much of a standout in terms of adding depth and dimension, but you can still hear it plugging along somewhere, and it doesn't detracted from the dominant guitar seated above it. The vocals of Decaylust (aka 'D) aren't exactly novel, but they're abusive enough, and I like the wavering fountain of vomited blood he invokes on the sustained notes. All told, Almighty Arcanum is an impressive, smash-up job, even if the pale quartet on the cover seem like they've turned their ouroboros into some hellish trampoline. Plenty of seething bursts of Satanic celerity here to counteract the occult mortar-shell certainty of the mid-paced fare, and if you ignored them the last time they put out an album (a good one, I might add), it'll be a little harder in 2013, since Denouncement Pyre will piss demon-spunk all over you.