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In freezing serenity, alone they wander - 90%

Necroabyss, November 16th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, Digital, Agonia Records

On 2015, two years after the accident that took 23's life and left the rest of the band severely injured, Polish black metallers Blaze Of Perdition released the album that redefined its sound, titled "Near Death Revelations". As evident by the title, the band was inspired by the experience of coming so close to death, and this subject is reflected on the lyrics, as well as the atmosphere of the music.

This year, on the accident's 4-year anniversary, the band releases their latest opus, titled "Conscious Darkness", which offers 43 minutes of powerful, harsh yet melodic Polish black metal, with a lot of crescendos and tempo changes.

In this album the band took the musical forms of "Near Death Revelations" and worked on them, further evolving and taking them a step further. XCIII's guitars "weep" in ways the band has never played before. The leads are slower, but more technical, while the riffs are on the other end of the spectrum, being thunderous and trampling. The rhythm section is as solid as a wall, with a strong presence of the bass, a pleasant surprise in the genre, when most releases suffer with a production in which the bass can hardly be heard. The lyrics are as nihilistic and harsh as one should expect, delivered with vocal lines that convey the sentiment in an incredible manner. The band, however, dips the quill in its earliest days here, bringing some elements from its early days. One final thing to note here is that the whole aesthetic of the album reflects the album's philosophy. Contrary to the previous one, all photography and artwork is in black and white, with a total absence of color.

"Near Death Revelations" was the album that got most people in the band's music and set the stakes really high for this album. Does it do nearly as well as the previous one? To this, the answer is that it does better. In just 43 minutes, it stands 11 minutes and 3 tracks short of "Near Death Revelations", but it feels just as complete. A testament to the density of this album's compositions. They are longer, more complex and just as harsh. This shows that the band experimented, tried new things and its attempt at long tracks paid off with a storming, solid album.

For a band whose first steps were criticized as a "copy of Watain" (I admit, they had a lot of common things in their music), the last two albums show that they have finally found their identity, and their songs have acquired a "personality", a specific style that instantly makes them recognizable.