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THE AXIS OF PERDITION: "Tenements..." - 50%

skaven, June 6th, 2012

Going back to the first half of the 2000s, the abominant The Axis of Perdition was already churning out impressive industrialized black metal horror, not unlike Atrium Carceri’s ambience and Blut Aus Nord’s twisted metal, and I remember enjoying Physical Illucinations in the Sewer of Xuchilbara (The Red God) and Deleted Scenes from the Transition Hospital to a great extent. Keeping this in mind, the group’s newest offering Tenements (of the Anointed Flesh) is unfortunately not quite as captivating release, lacking in some crucial aspects such as truly haunting compositions and a fitting sound.

After the brief introduction, ”Unveiled” kicks in with the programmed drums that, even though appearing on a heavily industrial album, seem somewhat amateurish, the sterile hammering not working for the atmosphere’s good at all. However, the overall atmosphere is fittingly hysterical, a thousand voices echoing all around the soundscape, guitars firing rapid and seemingly incoherent discordance, albeit the chord progressions are almost never remarkable. Vocals are the weakest link of the line-up: while for the most part they are decent raspy screams - though sometimes the forced semi-clean vocals (”Unveiled”, ”The Flesh Spiral”) sound like they’d better belong to an insipid nu-metal group from yesteryears, lacking strength and any seriousness that an album of this kind would need - there’s really nothing mysterious about the vocal output.

The humming ambient interlude ”Dark Red Other” is the first proper breathing moment after an exhausting four-song combo of constant chaos. After that, the same feast on dissonant melodies continue until ”Ordained” begins, a 180 degree turn from the material before it, starting with epic synths and then bursting into impressive melancholic black metal with twirling melodies and only slight elements of the convulsing metal that Tenements otherwise provides. This song is a definite highlight of the album, a heard-rending piece combining despair and sickness, sung in clean vocals, and it makes me wish the 60-minute whole had more of this style.

I hate to say it, but all in all Tenements (of the Anointed Flesh) leaves a slightly negative taste, mostly because the music doesn’t quite deliver the frightening elements of their early material; instead, it all sounds a little common, already heard on various other black metal albums. Having only one truly great song, I must settle to an okay rating. Without that one particular track, take the half star off.

2.5 / 5
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