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Old school death metal for the new century - 86%

Agonymph, February 21st, 2021

I have lamented the state of modern death metal before. Bands that go the atmospheric route sacrifice the necessary aggression, the aggressive ones quickly descend into exhausting hyper blasting and the ones that do slow down often get stuck in a dull groovy rut. Even the bands with a more old school approach often end up with something that doesn’t quite impress as much as the works they are emulating. Because of this, it is good to have bands like Greece’s Blessed By Perversion, who do a highly admirable job of making old school death metal ready for this century.

Please don’t worry if that makes it seem like Blessed By Perversion is modernizing death metal, because they wear their early nineties death metal influences on their sleeves. The Floridian scene appears to be of particular influence, but despite clearly taking influence from the likes of Morbid Angel and some of the other early death metal bands that did not have much of a thrash metal influence anymore, they also work some nifty progressive features into their music without being too ham-fisted about it. The production on ‘Remnants Of Existence’ is also clear and contemporary in a way that truly emphasizes the music.

What Blessed By Perversion does particularly well is weaving the horror atmosphere that was so prominent when death metal was slowly turning into its own thing into their compositions. This is emphasized by the use of subtle keyboards in tracks like ‘Caverns Of Torture’, an arrangement trick that brings ‘Chapel Of Ghouls’ to mind, but the haunting guitar melodies of Kostas Foutris and Manolis Kouelo are ominous enough to achieve that effect by themselves. Vocalist Andreas Moschopoulos has the perfect grunt for this type of death metal as well, as it is deep and grimy, but still decipherable.

Another revelation on ‘Remnants Of Existence’ is drummer Vasilis Nanos. He resists the temptation of cramming all the space he has full with hard hits and constructs parts that really sound like a part of the composition. The doomy closing track ‘Within Monumental Chaos’ in particular truly shows what a musical drummer he is. Near the end of the track, bassist Vaggelis Nanos also injects some cool little bass fills, which made me realize how deep and powerful his bass sound is. Another highlight is ‘Among The Tombs Of Absent Gods’, which has a few almost Suffocation-esque technical riffs and a cool unpredictably timed middle section, but still retains its aggression.

If there is an issue with ‘Remnants Of Existence’, it would be its length. Blessed By Perversion presents the album as a full length, but it’s not even 25 minutes long. I could easily have listened to double the length of this music. And that is a compliment, because many death metal albums exhaust me after less than this album’s length. The Greeks deserve all the praise they can get for striking a perfect balance between aggression, atmosphere and slight technicality, proving that neither of those elements have to go at the cost of good songwriting.

Recommended tracks: ‘Within Monumental Chaos’, ‘Caverns Of Torture’

Originally written for my