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It’s been more than a decade since Embrace Of Thorns emerged in the Hellenic underground and now it’s clear that the time has come for them to claim their share in the international leadership of true and dark black/death metal. The signs were already visible since 2009 with “Atonement Ritual” but it’s their newest effort, “Praying For Absolution”, which has come to annihilate everything that stands between them and the elite of contemporary extreme sound.
With Abomination Virginborn (of Dead Congregation fame) having been totally embodied into the band’s musical concept, EoT appear more atmospheric and spiritual than ever. The early era of minimal blackmetal belongs to the distant past and the juvenile (welcome, yet somewhat immature) wrath has given way to a deeper cosmic theory. However, for Archfiend DevilPig (vocals/guitars) and Herald Of Demonic Pestilence (guitars) who are mainly responsible of the musical direction, the main achievement here is that to describe “Praying…” one cannot use typical comments like “a mix of X and Y, while at some parts they remind us Z”. Indeed, the ‘10s edition of Embrace Of Thorns plays ITS OWN, personal style of tenebrous death metal.
The songs here develop their own conscience, they change rhythms and speed in ways paralleled to spiritual transitions. The riffs sometimes crawl while other times burst out as heard in the devastating chorus of the self-titled track. The guitar leads (i.e “Ancient Waters Speak” or “A Mass For Fiends Forlorn”) bring to mind the long gone early 90s, the rhythm section of Goat Molestor (bass guitar) and Nuctemeron (drums) is as solid as it should be and upon this canvas come the cold words spat from Archfiend to play the role of guide along paths that lead outside modern man’s common sense.
In an era where the phrase “I insert a record into my stereo, press “play” and sit down to LISTEN with my attention fixed on it” keeps constantly decreasing in popularity, Embrace Of Thorns choose the rough way of a dense full-length (47 minutes are all but few for the depth and intensity of their music). I have no idea whether their work will gain the acceptance it deserves, but for those fans that will give “Praying…” the devotion it demands, their reward will be much more than “another decent death metal album”.
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