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Ah, the last Limbonic Art album, or so we thought that was the case in 2003, when the band members decided they did everything they could with the project. Years later, they came back together, but that's a completely different story. After the mighty Ad Noctum: DoD album, Limbonic Art had big shoes to fill, and although Ultimate Death Worship isn't as good as that one, there are some awesome tracks on here. It's unfortunately underrated and overlooked.
Where Ad Noctum focused on creating a "big" but dark sound, Ultimate Death Worship is fast, raw, and abrasive. The production leaves a more blurry, interlocked sound where drums are still noticeable, but sound less mechanical than in Ad Noctum. Daemon's vocals are slightly screechier, but this is completely acceptable for the more raw sound being presented. Although Limbonic Art was never excelling in the vocals category, I think here they shine the most and are most fitting with how the rest of the music sounds. There also aren't any of those silly clownish vocals you hear sometimes on albums like Epitome... and In Abhorrence...you know, where he sounds like a cartoon character.
The best part of UDW is how aggressive everything is, while also remaining somewhat consistent throughout. This aggressions really enhances the riffs, vocals, and drumming. Take the song "Suicide Commando" for a second. Not only does this track have an awesome atmospheric introduction that puts me right into the heart of the galaxy, the guitars come in fast. These riffs are awesome and the screaming vocals to supplement everything make for a catchy, fast-paced, badass sounding song. Surprisingly enough, you can actually pick out a lot of the lyrics and the main "theme" (subjective) of the song comes off as something you can hum along too or even sing (or scream?).
Most of the songs follow this same formula with minor adjustments in between. In general, the band uses a consistent structure that can sometimes be a little predictable, but they're all the right moves - the ones you'd expect. It's like the band members tried to make this appealing and grabbing to most metal listeners. It works because the end product is highly entertaining. Even though I feel lame for sounding this, these songs are "cool."
There are some surprises though, namely in "Towards the Oblivion of Dreams." This track showcases Limbonic Art's ability to still provide an excellent use of symphonic keyboards. Whereas the song lacks aggression, it makes up for in epicness and progression. Its melodic nature actually reminds me of some songs from Abhorrence Dementia. Was this intentional by the band? Either way, it's a neat idea. It also helps that all the extra instruments strongly reinforce the sound to make something full of quality.
The only track that isn't too interesting is the title track. It lags way too much and simply isn't as remarkable as the other tracks here. The riffs are fine, but the performance seems lazy and it can seem like it takes forever to get into the heart of the song. Also, the two ambient/instrumental tracks are somewhat forgettable, but they are okay enough breaks in between all the chaotic metal going on. Also, the lack of "Voyage of the Damned" on most releases is disappointing because I think it would have filled a nice niche in the entire progression of this album as it's one of the more moderately paced tracks. Too bad it's only a bonus track.
Ultimate Death Worship may not receive the same praise as other Limbonic Art albums, but it does offer a different flavor from not only the band, but also the genre of space-themed metal and does a good job of it. It's a fantastic ride and I feel the band really wanted to make something powerful before going on a hiatus for the next several years.
After the immense Ad Noctum - Dynasty of Death, which gutted most of the orchestral pomp which hammed up the band's first two LPs, then-inseparable duo Daemon and Morfeus continued farther down the same path: more abrasion, less keyboards. While I still remain in the admittedly tiny camp that believes that Limbonic Art's later, more guitar-oriented albums are superior, there are plenty of thin points at the seams here not present on Ad Noctum that foreshadow the ensuing breakup.
The band themselves produced this album, and it's biggest flaw is actually not the infamous caustic-sounding mix and production job. The Ultimate Death Worship's biggest flaw is its progression. The album is bookended by the more straightforward cuts, with the middle of the album serving as a dumping ground for the rest of the ideas that wouldn't or couldn't fit in elsewhere. The title track is probably the best of the longer tracks on here. The melodies are as per the course with Limbonic Art, dissonant to the point of near-absurdity. However, there is something about this one, it has almost a lethargic, laid back progression to it despite the sonic extremity that hits just the right marks and results in one of the band's best compositions to date. "Suicide Commando" and "Funeral of Death" are both acceptable, if a bit overlong. The former features some of the better riffs and some truly impressive shrieking vocals that give the abrasive approach a bit of a foothold. The 2010 reissue finally inserted "Voyage of the Damned" into the track listing, albeit at the very end. It benefits from a shorter duration and some of the more enterprising moments between the guitars and keyboards, it was definitely missed sorely in the original CD pressing.
Conversely, we have two completely pointless noise tracks in "Purgatorial Agony" and "Last Rite for the Silent Darkstar". The latter segues into "Interstellar Overdrive", which doesn't feature enough interesting moments to warrant it's existence. Honestly, the listener can skip from track 2 to track 7 and not miss anything of marked value. It's almost like the band tried to go halfway back to their old, symphonic, all-over-the-place compositional style on these tracks and ended up pleasing nobody. It doesn't help that the programmed drums are a bit of a mess this time around. The triggered bass drum and the snare sound almost identical. So much so that I often forgot there was a snare at all. Ad Noctum's drums were more buried in the mix, but you at least knew what drum samples you were hearing. It helped hold the listener's hand through the more extreme sections. Here you are oftentimes left out in the cold, with only the guitars as a guide. Guitars which show promise and make a case for the band's continued existence even without the keyboards. Seriously, Morfeus writes some amazing riffs, it's just that without a counterpoint to them to add atmosphere and balance they begin to grow thin on their own.
There are about as many keyboards here as on Legacy of Evil, but they somehow sound comical and cheap again like on In Abhorrence Dementia. There are some truly bold keyboard sections, such as in the title track. That melody reminds me of The Gold Saucer Prison in Final Fantasy VII. However, most of the keyboards are relegated to the aforementioned throwaway tracks. There isn't much tension buildup on The Ultimate Death Worship. It is just pedal down the entire time, or pointless atmospheric bullshit that never goes anywhere. Regardless, fans of the band's later material will find the best of it on some of these tracks, just be sure to pick and choose accordingly.
Before this album, I have never heard something so absolutely unnecessary in my history of listening to music. "The Ultimate Death Worship" is the black metal equivalent of a Backstreet Boys "Greatest Hits Compilation." It's not that Limbonic Art aren't good musicians or good songwriters (which they aren't) but their style of melodic black metal is extremely stale and Limbonic Art does nothing to make it exciting. In fact, they make symphonic black metal less exciting. The whole style in which they compose has been overcooked to a degree in which it is no longer edible. What is even worse for Limbonic Art is that "The Ultimate Death Worship" was never edible to begin with. They are trying to cook rancid maggot infested meat and make it taste like fillet mignon. Combine irritating keyboards, inferior songwriting and samples worse than shitting yourself at the beginning of an airplane ride and the effect of Limbonic Art's album is near enough to poke with a short, poison tipped stick. The album is flawed irreversibly. It is not a matter of fixing a guitar part here, or adding some slight reverb to the drums or increasing volume of the bass guitar.
Addressing the keyboards on this album is both a wonderful chance to explain why I hate keyboards so much and also a great opportunity to utilize this hate to obliterate their usage on this album. Keyboards are a useful tool for creating quick and easy pseudo-atmosphere on a record. Keyboards come loaded with tons of effects and instrument modelers which make hiring real musicians a wasteful expense. Keyboards when used properly can recreate the sound of marching legions coming from hell, but still sound like evil carnival music. When used improperly they ALWAYS sound like evil carnival music and nothing less. Keyboards are also the most unmetal of all instruments. They remove any sense of bestiality and primitivism from black metal and make all forms of traditional and power metal sound like arena rock. Keyboardists, when playing on stage, always look like they are in an eternal squatting position, as if they are constantly being kicked in the balls every time they press a key and emit a girlish screeching wailing note instead of a manly painful grunt. Admittedly, Keyboards are not always terrible and will on occasion work as long as they exist inoffensively and are recorded with top of the line equipment. This usually works best on albums in which keyboards don't actually exist.
Limbonic Art has successfully created the worst showing of keyboards in black metal I have ever heard. The first track, the album's self titled song, is at best mediocre until the atrocious toy-ish keyboards start assembling. With keyboard accents accenting every note, there really is no such thing as accents. When the keyboards on your album sound like the battle effects from Legend of Zelda Windwaker and the flute leads (midi flute leads) sound like an SNES recreation of Aqualung there should be at least one person in the band thinking "This doesn't sound right..." Somewhere between the end of the first track and beginning of the second track is some weird spoken word segment focused around the death of a death row inmate. This between-track-purgatory consists of someone speaking through a walky-talky and stealing the background music for the next forgettable survival horror video game. All I know is that the title track is just the first dingleberry on the yak's ass.
While I could neatly rip apart any track on "The Ultimate Death Worship" with nothing more than a spoon and a damp washcloth, I feel compelled to point out the worst track. "Towards The Oblivion Of Dreams" is a bombastic amateurish romp through every stereotypical symphonic black metal convention that exists without doing anything to break the mold and lead the molten metal in a new direction. Considering the poor job Limbonic Art does at making symphonic black metal, however, I would be even more frightened to hear them attempt something new and unique. The childlike chanting and warnings in the track's introduction sound more like the fat kid on the playground. Some slight metallic jingling makes it sound like he's got change in his pocket as well. Ignoring the next two and a half minutes of banal riffs with more of that terrible keyboard instrumentation, the track kicks off into a sloppy black metal tremolo riff. After another three full minutes of crapboards and mind-numbing unoriginality, "Dreams" decides to try something interesting with a slow, doomy riff. If you guessed that keyboards ruined the sole chance the song had of creating atmosphere during this critical juncture, you win every copy of this album ever printed to use just for stress relief. This song is ten minutes long... there is no reason for such a pretentious song length. I would rather be waterboarded than listen to this flatulence.
What makes this album so spectacularly terrible besides the terrible songwriting, irritating keyboards and spunk-covered gay-porn samples is the album's tone. Fagboards have been discussed already but Daemon and Morfeus (Morfeus? Seriously?) have more at their disposal than stolen Fisher Price keyboards and kidnapped playground bullies. Daemon handles the vocals and lyrics and while I could go on endlessly about how he sounds like a constipated Gollum with a sore throat, it is easier to describe his vocals using his own lyrics. Taken from "Purgatorial Agony," a song that sounds like Butthead splooging inside an angry dwarf , Daemon's vocal talents "hide within places unknown." Other phrases from this song which apply: "There was nothing else to do", "Reservoirs of shame", and the classic Freshmaker hating battlecry of "Mentos Undivine." While Daemon is getting upset over breath-fresheners, Morfeus is trying his best to be genuine by burying every riff underneath a sagging elderly triple D sized breast full of muffled distorted bass and a buzzy guitar tone that sounds less like heavy and more like cheap amplifier. Do I need to describe what programmed drums sound like also? Thankfully they are neatly buried under everything else.
I remember back in 2002 when I bought this album. Previously I had only just begun an interest in black metal and Limbonic Art was a name that I recognized. I bought this out on a limb having not heard any of their material. Upon listening to this album I really enjoyed the aggressiveness and the dark aura surrounding it. I had never heard anything quite like this before. This was a perfect gateway for me into the black metal realm.
This is Limbonic Art’s 5th and final album before they split up. This album follows a similar path that they took on Ad Noctum, moving away from the epic touch to a much more straightforward all out assault of aggressive black metal.
The cover artwork is pretty typical for this band. It consists of a goat skull that looks as if it is trapped in space. This cosmic feel suits this album very well as listening to it you definitely get that sense.
The production quality here is excellent. Every note is very clear and there is no fuzziness incorporated into the mix. All the instruments fit comfortably and nothing is left too much in the background
The vocals are not your typical raw incomprehensible vocals that many bands in black metal do and the words are not too much of a struggle to follow. Daimon does a very good job here and I cannot think of another vocalist who sounds quite like him. The vocals are similar to previous recordings but have a better sense of production about them and he doesn’t trail on the end of words as much as he did in the earlier recordings.
The guitars have a very heavy sense of “crunch” about them in a very buzz-saw like manner, which is very different from their previous recordings. The way in which the guitars often hang onto the notes detracts a little from the pace at times. This is an attempt to create atmosphere and add to the heaviness which works reasonably well. The guitars do have some variation about them but maybe there is not enough because they get a bit repetitive at times.
The keyboards are not used as prominently as previous recordings but are used to backup the rest of the sound. This is pulled off very effectively. Many people compare the keyboards here to what Emperor did on Anthems but I only see this at specific points. Anthems tends to focus much more with the keyboards as being amongst the driving force of the songs all the way through. Limbonic Art do this but only at a few points throughout the album. This helps add to the variety and atmosphere and I would have preferred them to do this more frequently. Also the keyboards can get a bit annoying in as it reminds me of those cheep electric keyboards you get when you are a kid.
The first track opens up with a very eerie piece. The guitars quickly come into play with a very heavy “crunch” to them. The drum machine comes in at a relatively aggressive pace and keeps this throughout most of the album. There is a reasonable amount of variety here and this is definitely one of the stronger songs.
The next track is possibly the most aggressive on the album with the drum machine cranked up to overdrive along with an increase in the pace of the guitars. There are some very nice catchy riffs incorporated here.
Towards The Oblivion of Dreams is the longest track on the album and by far the most technical. There is a lot of variety in this song that keeps it from getting boring. It opens up with a spoken passage that almost sounds like it is coming from Gollum. Pity it comes across as being on the cheesy side. The song uses more keyboards than any of the other tracks. The song ranges a lot in pace and changes in direction at just the right moments to keep from getting boring. The vocals include a lot of variety to, ranging from Daimon’s usual hateful singing to almost sick screaming in agony.
Interstellar Overdrive is a track that I just love to scream along to. This song has a very cosmic feel to it. This is not to be confused as a cover of the Pink Floyd song, which some seem to think it is. This song is just oozing with atmosphere as it puts the guitars a little further back into the mix and reduces their crunchiness.
From the Shades of Hatred gallops along like a horse on the racetrack, and like Interstellar Overdrive the guitars lack that crunchiness. The song adds some variety but by this point my attention span is dropping.
From the opening riff of Funeral of Death one gets the sense that the assault of hate is coming to a close. I would have preferred the mood would have been left at the end of the album, instead of the band pulling you back down to earth. A fairly forgettable track
Standout tracks are Towards the Oblivion of Dreams, Interstellar Overdrive, The Ultimate Death Worship.
The biggest drawback for me in this album is the short atmospheric tracks the band incorporates. Tracks like Purgatorial agony, which is over 3mins of torturous drowning noises and a cheesy spoken passage about death, and Last Rite for the Silent Darkstar, which is a boring spoken passage sound totally pointless and detract from the flow of the album.
I feel like this album is also lacking something which may be the sense of repetitiveness.
Even with the variety within the tracks I still get the sense that the album is very repetitive making it hard for me to retain my attention.
This is a worthy purchase for those who like cleaner production but also not that sense of “sellout’ that one gets with Dimmu Borgir or Cradle of Filth.
Right before I decided to write this review I realized that many people listen to the albums they're reviewing while reviewing in order to help them give a more detailed description of the album and to point out specific transitions within each of the songs, so I thought about listening to this album while trying to review it; however, I was already listening to Master of Puppets, a classic that I feel I should try to appreciate more, considering I've neglected it somewhat in the past. I feel as if writing more generic reviews now and then isn't such a bad thing.
Limbonic Art's latest album The Ultimate Death Worship(kinda bland title, don't ya think?) is the second of the two black metal albums I own---the first being Apotheosis's Farthest From the Sun. One day I was in a whimsical mood and was looking for reviews for Farthest From the Sun(which I love, by the way) and one reviewer mentioned that their playing style is similar to that of Limbonic Art, Sear Bliss, and Ninnghizzhidda, so I decided to check them out...maybe even buy Moon in the Scorpio, which seems to be regarded as a black metal classic. It was certainly a plus that Limbonic Art was on the same record label as Apotheosis(Malta) as well: Nocturnal Art Productions.
You may be wondering why I'm reviewing this album instead of Moon in the Scorpio right now, but it's because beloved fellow reviewer FeartheNome sent out this album to me in mp3 format.
The Ultimate Death Worship is a great utilization of harsh, shrieking, uncompromising rawness, and highly progressive songwriting.(several songs are past the 7 minute mark. at least two)
This band isn't as epic as Apotheosis, but you have to realize that 'epic' isn't a part of their band description on this site, while Apotheosis is partly labeled that.Every track on this album is NOISY except the interlude Purgatorial Agony and another forgettable segue near the end. I enjoy the chaotic pandemonium in their songs and it sounds very aggressive(Whoever claimed that black metal isn't/can't be aggressive needs a cat-scan), but it's hard to single out the keyboards.
Unlike Farthest From the Sun, where everything was very clear, it's often incoherent on this album. I realize that many people like raw black metal with poor production, but this isn't supposed to be raw black metal with poor production, folks. When you can notice the keyboards, though, they are mesmerizing.
The vocalist has some of the most ear-torturing shrieks I've ever heard from a black metal vocalist(Keep in mind that I haven't heard much black metal though) and will probably give you a headache the first few times you listen to it. You'll get used to it soon, though.
The blastbeats on this album are very prominent...not as prominent as they are on 1349's Liberation, but they're pretty noticeable. It is these blastbeats which mostly make black metal aggressive. Without them, it would be much different.
Now I will touch on some key songs, here. The opening title track is very groovy and not too fast. Listen, I don't want to be knocked flat on my face right away. Give me a hint as to how I'm going to die, but kill me later. The keyboards are especially prominent on this track. I also find it interesting that they've decided to put the title track as the first track of the album. It's like saying "We are Limbonic Art, and this is what this album is about. If you don't like this song, you won't like any of the others." Of course, this assertion is wrong, because not all the songs sound like the first one.
The third track is Purgatorial Agony, and though it's not a full-length track, it's godly nonetheless. Rife with tortured moans of agony and grim spoken vocals, this may very well scare the hell out of you.
Track four, Towards the Oblivion of Dreams, is the best song on here, no doubt. It's perhaps the loudest and longest track on here, and those keyboards in the chorus are fucking wicked and pushed well into the foreground. Later on, as climactic tension builds up in the song, the keyboards become harder to decipher though. Another notable thing about this track are the eerie vocals in the beginning. Some unearthly-sounding entity says "There are creatures in the night(pause) that live in places you don't want to be....make you see things you don't want to see". Whew, that sends chills down my spine.
I told you I wasn't going to review every song on this album, and I've stuck to that. If you don't like it, tough shit. Haha.
Overall, this is an excellent release from an underrated band(Can you blame them, though? Nocturnal Art Productions is damn kvlt.) It has some problems with clarity, but otherwise it's excellent.
Slowly, but surely, my perception of black metal as obnoxious, overly loud music with blasphemous and satanic lyrics is starting to change. Possibly, this same stereotype is what drives many other people away from this genre. I've found that, in the realm of metal, expect the unexpected, because NOTHING is what it seems. Also, the farther you dig into underground music, the more creative bands you find. This doesn't always hold true, but I've noticed that it does a considerable amount of time.
If you see a band like Limbonic Art and you think to yourself "No, I'm not going to support a satanic band by buying their albums", LOOK AT THE LYRICS FIRST. Sure, LA's lyrics are dark, but they definitely aren't satanic. If they are, then I'll be damned. Also, try to listen to sound samples so that you can get an idea of just how grating the music is to your ears and whether you'd be able to stomach a whole album of the band.
This album is a keeper and should please fans of melodic black metal and maybe some fans of raw black metal. Hopefully, it will please both.