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Hell Militia – Jacob’s Ladder - 60%

Asag_Asakku, November 17th, 2012

Interesting things are happening in Franks' kingdom. Many French bands are now considered leaders in their respective registers, paving the way for new groups, such as Parisian Hell Militia. Members of this infernal guerrilla are practicing a strong blackened death metal, in a style already dug by their fellows from Svart Crown and Vorkreist. Stylistic similarities between these groups (the eerie clear guitar passages, fat distortion, syncopated rhythms, etc.) are so obvious that we could possibly confuse them.

Now belonging to Season of Mist’s herd, Hell Militia therefore propose us a third album called Jacob’s Ladder, which has the same flaws I already noticed on Vorkreist’s Sigil Whore Christ, published earlier this year. Packaging is impeccable, even stylish, but it cannot hide the album’s weaknesses. Indeed, apart from some beautiful and furious riffs (particularly on the title track), song writing remains hesitant. Songs are constantly interspersed with slower and heavier passages, breaking the interpretation momentum. I would have much more preferred an aggressive and instinctive attitude. In addition, some sound clips scattered on the album are difficult to understand, their introduction contexts being often opaque to the audience.

Bible stories have always been a sulfur mine for black metal bands, which draw tirelessly themes and concepts from it. French quartet Hell Militia joined the horde by exploiting a famous Genesis passage extracted from a Jacob’s dream. This Abraham grand-son saw in a reverie a stairway (or ladder) borrowed by the angels for their travels between earth and heaven. God even speaks to him, confirming his intentions towards his chosen people. It is a beautiful and mysterious mythological theme, but Jacob’s Ladder never allows the listener to reach seventh heaven. 6/10

Originally written for Métal Obscur.