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Perplexity for All the Poor Souls in Hell - 77%

bayern, November 7th, 2017

Another eclectic bunch from Japan, this act were at least not straying too far from the righteous path at the beginning, trying to bring The Horned One on Japanese soil with their “infernal” EP looking at the early works of Venom and Celtic Frost/Hellhammer for their evocation “spells”.

It’s not certain how successful those “spells” were, but with the healthy amount of doom accompanying them they might not have made all the demons in Hell jump around… not that our friends here cared so much about that as they abandoned their demonic infatuations for the album reviewed here, opting for a dark avantgarde mixture of doom and thrash, the early Celtic Frost’s exploits still circulating as a prime influence, the speedier sections recalling the Canadian veterans Slaughter, among other 80’s outfits.

“Paragraph 1” is a most eccentric inauguration into the twisted world of this less ordinary team, a bizarre atmospheric amalgam of sounds which is built on lyrical balladisms and seismic doomy walkabouts, the tortured semi-clean vocals creating a lot of drama, not to mention the insistent bass burps and the jumpy Confessor-esque attempts. Not style-defining by any stretch, this piece is superseded by the gigantic 11-min “The Indoctrination Rites”, a sinister minimalistic opus which heavily relies on traditional doom motifs to pull it out, but that wouldn’t have been possible for the entire running time, and here come the more energetic thrashy jolts which even develop close to the headbanging parametres, diversifying this opus in a really nice manner.

“Sabbath Breaker” is a strangely uplifting cut, a steady more orthodox power/thrasher the band not violating the standard formulas too much, sparing themselves for “Insane Doll”, the next in line sprawling (8.5-min) saga submerged in doom for a large portion of the time with a couple of eccentric melodies “floating” around some of which come from the lead department, and are quite close to the lofty Shrapnel models. In other words, the guys possess some admirable musical talents which makes it a bit sad that they prefer the more monotonous ways of execution also evident from “From the Darkside”, a crooked doom metal opus coming as a cross between Saint Vitus and Confessor again, the hysterical screamy leads scratching the listener’s nerves, contrasting with the prevalent lamentable tone of the song. “End Off..” is indeed the end, and this is where some more aggressive thrash can be encountered, the jumpy rhythm-section settling for a consistent stride that seldom gets broken throughout the 6-min of playing time, disrupted by a not very meaningful accumulation of noises at the end.

This will be mostly entertainment for the doom metal fandom as the thrash metal audience have to have a bigger threshold of tolerance for outside-the-box expressions and slower doom-laden passages. It’s hypnotic stuff which lures you into its monotonous, not very eventful layout although the sparsely applied black-ish rasps, alongside the more energetic bounces, could be considered a rude awakening of some sorts. There’s no strict pattern followed as there’s some stream-of-consciousness method at work, too, but sheer chaos at large is rarely witnessed here; and it couldn’t be any other way with these antediluvian, ship-sinking riffs exercising tighter control on the proceedings.

The latter got a firmer grip on the band’s delivery on the sophomore which was even more deeply sunk in the doom metal idea the guys only sporadically inserting the odd thrashy shade as the focus was strictly on generating as much atmosphere and mood as possible, also with the use of all kinds of side effects, noises, and other non-music gimmicks. Not such a great showing, it was followed by “Mr. Ree” which was an improvement in every department with thrash brought back, with numerous illogical, atonal, dissonant additives included, by all means for the better, turning this album into a more varied amalgam with echoes of Voivod and their compatriots Doom. Still, it was doom that commanded the parade for at least half the time, but its presence wasn’t as morose and tedious, making this outfit another valuable addition to the always full of surprises left-hand-path side of the Japanese scene.