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Hades are a really weird band. Apart from having changed the name because the real Hades came back (the thrash metal ones), they’ve changed also musically and not just a bit. If the period from the beginning to the great The Dawn of The Dying Sun was considered their Viking/black one, after they suffered from a sort of mutation that brought them to be a sort of experimental black metal act. Anyway, don’t expect something in Kovenant style because Hades Almighty are far blacker and they exasperated a sort of doom influence that was already traceable in their previous efforts.
The atmosphere is truly gloom and what I’ve always loved about them is that they never needed lots keyboards and synth parts to enrich their sound. Everything was quite natural in their change and always black. Millennium Nocturne was awesome in this change and presented us a band that almost abandoned the Viking past to embrace a sort of esoteric and “stellar” feeling in the songs. Everything seemed to be so weird and dark and this The Pulse of Decay is a natural continuation. After a short intro, “Submission Equals Suicide” is ready to explode and, for those who have listened to the early work, the change is more than evident.
It’s incredible how they marked a different direction without having completely abandoned their past. At the end, the drums tempo is always the same, the doom one also and the vocals are screamed but in some parts are just a bit clearer and less suffered. The atmosphere always remained gloom but this time more artificial and weird. The various stop and go are great and the guitars are truly the most obscure thing on this album. Actually, this song is very good and a perfect opener that makes the things clear, immediately. The title track follows without a moment to relax and features almost oriental lead parts along with more modern structures to flow in a more extreme direction.
The production is the best they’ve ever had in cleanness of sounds because all the instruments explode in volumes and compactness. The breaks are hyper gloom and really infernal. The atmospheres are just scary and truly dark. The guitar riffs add violence and the drums follow. “The Antichrist Inside” is a bit faster but always in relation to Hades style. The vocals are far more screamed and black metal, while the guitars are martial in the riffs and the drums accompany them very well. This song is more direct and, except for the break in the middle, the atmospheres are less present. It’s a good song, but not as good as the previous ones on this album.
“Vendetta Assassination” is very good in the second half where an arpeggios on the electric guitar almost hide a melody. The rest is goodish but they are a bit going downhill in these last songs… “Apocalypse” features the return of the choirs of old Hades and I’ve always loved them. They are on the background but always audible. The song is really essential and the vocals are mostly on growl. The guitars have something thrash inside and the classic arpeggio is just for some breaks. They are always cold and apocalyptic. “Razor” follows the same style with a cold, far arpeggio at the beginning and the bass is always very pounding. Going on everything remains very atmospheric, even during the faster parts. The very last notes are incredibly similar to “Nothing Else Matters”!
Overall, this is a good album by these courageous Norwegians. The first songs are the best but everything it’s enjoyable. By the way, you must forget about the old Hades and listen to this without prejudices. I still prefer Millennium Nocturne for the songs and the atmospheres but this one is good too.