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Blaze of Perdition - Near Death Revelations - 80%

powerblack, July 19th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Agonia Records (Slipcase)

Blaze of Perdition has always stayed top in my personal preferences for their melodic yet dark, filthy black metal approach. The unfortunate accident which caused a heavy toll for the band, also struck me pretty bad. When the band announced their third full-length ‘Near Death Revolutions’, it quickly went on my most wanted listings and the awaited album was finally out on June 26th, 2015. The Poland based record label Agonia Records took the responsibility of releasing and distributing the album worldwide.

Blaze of Perdition front man Sonneillon explained the theme of this album would be focusing on the experiences he had during his near death situation after the accident and the band’s perceptions on death. So ‘Near Death Revelations’ is more of a conceptual album divided in 7 musical chapters. The album starts with a short ambient intro of ‘Królestwo niczyje’. The track soon turns into filthy black metal and also, for the rest of the album. The overall sound on this record is different from other Blaze of Perdition releases. The music is melodic as it was before but the production is heavily filthy and constructs a raw, melancholic feeling throughout. The riffs are faster and more complicated compared to their earlier releases. Guitar rhythms are given a priority in most of the songs (When Mirrors Shatter, Of No Light, Królestwo niczyje). The rhythmic sections are heavily inspired from slow, darkened melodies from atmospheric black metal. The sound of all the instruments are thickened in the mix to suit the atmosphere. The drums are complex structured and written in a way to complement the music. The vocal incorporates the use of howls, chants- switching frequently between these two styles. Overall, the music on this release is too varied to create any boredom even for the noob listeners.

In a nutshell, ‘Near Death Revelations‘ is a solid release leaning more towards melancholic black metal tendencies. Although there is nothing groundbreaking on it, but the album is highly recommended for its concept and sorrowful atmosphere. To me, ‘Near Death Revelations’ is the best Blaze of Perdition release to date. If you are unaware of this band and you have fondness towards the bands like Watain, Dissection and Deathspell Omega, then you must check this album out.

Originally written for Venustas Diabolicus.

Articulate aggression, elegant enmity - 82%

Homo Sapiens Metallis, July 17th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Agonia Records (Slipcase)

Poland has recently become a hotbed for quality black metal artists, as further evidenced and consolidated by this release. This is not a particular surprise, as it managed to rather quickly adapt to its ferocious tendencies and aggressive articulation even in the heyday of the black metal movement in the mid-90s. However, despite several bands being more enduring than the others, it has not managed to catch the attention and applause from the international community. It is only to be hoped for that several recent releases, particularly this and the new album by Outre, will reverse this rather obnoxious ignorance.

The music is indeed fast, but not intolerably and irksomely so, as the songs will often dissolve either in mid-paced and groovy segues, or some guitar noodling and gurgled or whispered vocals that bear more in common with dark ambient music than black metal proper. However, that does mean this album lacks aggression or enmity, it can certainly channel quite a dense dose of hostility, but this is not its basic premise or preoccupation. On the other hand, the atmosphere it develops is definitely enveloping and unnerving, with several vocal styles (shrieking, shouting, whispers, gurgles etc) energetically employed, and the frequent tempo changes, both in the drumming department and in the guitar gymnastics. That being said, it does seem to pay quite the tribute to the more renowned and classical precedents in the genre, with some of the progressions seeming too derivative and indistinct from the likes of Mayhem, Marduk, Dissection, Sacramentum etc, perhaps only camouflaged by modern production and aesthetics. Despite its tracks revolving around the distinct exploitations of the identical general principle, that is the alternating tempos, several do stand out; the groovy titular track "When Mirrors Shatter" that seems to seamlessly merge the hectic and placid textures, "Dreams Shall Flesh" with its underlying melody laced with the meaty groove midway through the song, as well as the slower and restrained "Of No Light" in which bursts of aggression and chaos take a backseat to atmosphere.

The general result achieved on this album is undeniably good, although it does somewhat reveal too much in terms of its sources of inspiration and foundation, as some of the tracks seem to be somewhat indecisive and inconclusive, and some of the riffing is indeed recycled and rearranged from the previous generations of musicians. On the other hand, there is enough of the solid songwriting, convincing musicianship, energetic delivery and concise ideas behind it to merit at least several spins to digest its, although not original and revolutionary, often chaotic and condensed sound. A worthy entry into the world of black metal. 82/100

A Blaze of Modern Black Metal - 80%

flightoficarus86, July 15th, 2015

Blaze of Perdition is a group I was not familiar with, but they have already released two albums to positive acclaim by both critics and fans. After hearing the two songs available on bandcamp, I was very happy to see this end up in my mailbox. Blaze of Perdition shares some strong similarities to Ascension, which to me is not a bad thing at all. In fact, I consider Consolamentum to be one of the most exemplary pieces of traditional modern black metal of the last few years. With Ascension's sophomore effect leaving me feeling unsatisfied, there was a void to be filled for this oppressive wall of sound. Near Death Revelations holds up astoundingly well in this respect.

Here, technical guitar playing takes a backseat to songwriting, but to great effect. The simple hooks are carefully woven into a dense sonic fabric. You may find yourself humming these ominous melodies long after the album has ended. The use of effects brings the old black metal formula into a modern production. And even though the majority of these riffs could be played with relative ease, Blaze of Perdition never shy away from a fiery solo to close out a track.

If there is a more methodical side to this album, it lies in the drumming. While not quite earth-shattering, it isn't Fenriz worship either. Blastbeats? Of course, but this is no one-trick pony. Rhythms serve as a focal point for the ebb and flow of each composition. Cascades of toms and double bass will seamlessly give way to thunderous mid-tempo affairs with crashes of lightning cymbals. Whether in the midst of the blazing intro to “Cold Morning Fears” or the slower closing to “Dreams Shall Flesh,” striking patterns will shift and contort arrangements into something far more challenging.

Between the vocals and mixing, similarities can also be drawn to another blackened 2015 release: Sulphur Aeon's Gateway to the Antisphere. The frontman's mixture of black grimness and death register along with the cadence share many qualities. Meanwhile, the impenetrable web of instrumentation occupies every square inch of the listening space. However, where I felt Gateway somewhat failed to utilize these aspects effectively, Near Death Revelations checks off everything on my wish list of improvements. Each instrument is allowed a full presence rather than becoming a fog of vague sounds. Riffs are better differentiated while the vocals spit double the fury. It took me several listens to get into Gateway and decipher all that was happening within, but with Blaze of Perdition; I was able to enjoy it from the very first spin.

In conclusion, while Near Death Revelations may not bring much new to the table, they have potential to corner the market on no holds barred modern black metal. Between the immersive production, able songwriting, and oppressive presence; Blaze of Perdition have found their way into my ever-growing collection of BM. It can be yours as well for the pricetag of $7.

Review courtesy of Metal Trenches (metaltrenches.com)