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Australian black/death metal horde Impious Baptism‘s 2 EPs last year V.A.N.V.D.A. and Path of the Inverted Trinity left me extremely impressed, fitting well into the Hells Headbangers roster. The band this year releases its debut Wrath of the Apex Predator, and finally, instead of just having 10 minutes or so of enjoyment, one can now properly appreciate the blasphemous craft of Impious Baptism.
The introductory track Revelation to Annihilate quickly builds the tension in the air, and introduces those who have not encountered Impious Baptism before to their style, with the relentlessness and urgency immediately apparent. But as suddenly as things escalated, the chaos is quickly replaced by an ominous and uneasy atmosphere, before all hell breaks loose again on The Age of Firelords. The style of Impious Baptism can be described as rather similar to the style of bands such as Antediluvian and Bestial Raids, complete with the dark atmosphere that lingers in the air. The oppressive and slightly slower moments even bring in some slight Dead Congregation resemblance, displaying the crushing intensity of the music on Wrath of the Apex Predator.
At the same time, the band displays some slight Canadian-styled war metal leanings, bringing in a Blasphemy or Black Witchery touch at times, especially in the tone of the guitars, and the riffing patterns of J on songs like Axis of Lucifer, and the James Read-styled of chaotic yet precise drumming. The progression of the song even reminds one of later Impiety black/death material. The echoey effects that J used on his vocals also add a nice touch to the music, further increasing the barbaric and bestial feel that is in the music. There are also moments such as at the end of Arcane Funeral Rites that see the band make use of silence to further add to the unease that the listener feels as the album progresses.
With bands such as Destroyer 666, Nocturnal Graves, Destruktor and the likes in his portfolio, a solo project of J can’t really go wrong, and Wrath of the Apex Predator certainly more than proves this to be so.