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This album is pretty much perfect.
Weapon's second release, From the Devil's Tomb, is very much the successor of Drakonian Paradigm. The sound remains quite similar, but this is definitely a much more mature album; the songs fit together more cleanly, transitions are smoother, the riffs are better, and the atmosphere is much more evil. All the characteristic black metal features are to be found: blast beats, tremolo picking, atmosphere, hellish vocals; but this album is so much more than your average black metal release. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the straightforward styled black metal, but From the Devil's Tomb is a masterpiece of subtle creativity in what some claim to be a dying, festering genre.
The album starts with a single, over-powered slow guitar which is shortly accompanied by drums, bass, and another guitar. This continues for a full minute before everything fades out but the drums, followed closely by all the instruments crashing back; vocals kick in around two minutes. The vocal style is worth stopping to note: not contained to the standard black metal rasp, they come off as a bit huskier and deeper; not a death growl, however. They evoke some camparisons to Arckanum's later material, but throatier and farther back in the mix. The lyrical matter is also, surprisingly for black metal, worthy of special note. The themes are of a standard satanic ilk, but they are done so masterfully and artistically.
The first and title track continues on and contains well placed guitar solos which remind one a bit of later Behemoth without being remotely derivative. The tempo changes a few times, always effectively, building atmosphere. Yet still contained are perfect headbanging segments interlaced with faster, repetitive vocal injections. The song ends after seven minutes with Vetis Monarch rasping "INTO THE DEVIL'S TOMB…", a journey to which this album would make the perfect accompanying soundtrack.
The album continues on in the same general style with sufficient variance to keep it interesting. One of their characteristic elements is tempo changes and stops; this can get annoying in lesser metal, but well placed vocals, guitar drones, and masterful, intense drumming make the transitions notably enjoyable instead of tasking. I also can not stress enough the skillful use of atmosphere: small grunts and guitar distortion go a long way in giving this album a very strong demonic tone; such a tone that should send fear into the spine of the uninitiated listener or lesser mortal.
For the life of me I can't pick a favourite track; they're all appropriately unique and interesting. to name a few, LEFTHANDPATHYOGA stands out as a quiet, softer tracker, offering a nice break from the satanic brutality, which then leads perfectly into The Inner Wolf, which opens with a haunting choral-esq drone. Furor Divinus has a very memorable section where Vetis calls out the name of Indian deities, and Vortex - 11724's chorus is highly chantable. Trishul also contains a fantastic sectino where the vocal mix changes and an offering of the vocalist's life is given to the Morning Star.
Easily the best release of 2010.
Released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States Licence: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/ ; Originially for Underground Violence Issue 38 and niflheim.logik.li