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So underrated yet so superior... - 95%

Kristenhat666, September 18th, 2006

When I first got my hands on this album, I knew what to expect, since I had been told about Blot Mine by a friend. He said I’d love their music, knowing that I’ve always had a weakness for fast BM, and he was right. I’ve always been a huge admirer of the Swedish Black Metal scene & "Porphyrogenesis"
was just the kind of CD anyone who appreciates the above-mentioned style should buy.

Let’s start with the lyrics. Don’t expect anything Satanic or antichristian. The thoughts expressed here are dark ones, but I will not attempt to interpret or even label them. An overall view of the band’s opinions and ideals can be found on their official site. So if you ‘re seeking bands with typical BM lyrics, you’ll be disappointed!

Musically speaking, this is a fast album, yet more melodic than other releases stemming from Sweden. So even though you will find the typical Dark Funeral / Setherial kind of speed, there will be no hateful, dismal side to “Porphyrogenesis”. Instead, the focus here is on the beauty of the melodies, with extremely catchy harmonies and arpeggios. Still, as on any CD that falls under the typical Swedish BM genre, the stress is on dual guitars (sometimes even 3 guitars), used to create a full soundwall that can satisfy any fan.

Let us go further into the details, shall we? The first track is “GREATER THAN LIFE”, and it’s a song that really encapsulates the atmosphere and style of the whole album. If you fail to like the riffs and melodies included in it, then listening further would be a waste of time for you. Personally, I think the song is a very good choice for an opening track. It’s fast enough, yet includes sufficient tempo changes. The second song is “ SHA NAGBA IMURU”, and from the outset, it becomes all too clear that it will be a damn fast and melodic one. The title itself sounds like a name taken straight out of a story by H. P. Lovecraft. Again, this is a very good track. “MY SOUL IN FURY FLEW” is third in order. It’s the only song that is rather slow-paced and maybe for this reason, it’s my least favorite. However, the guitar dual work gets interesting a couple of minutes into the track and is quite reminiscent of Dissection in its feeling, which is a plus by my book. “DUMU-ABZU-KE” is next and has more than just a seemingly Lovecraftian title. The lyrics are a sort of incantation that could’ve been taken from the Necronomicon itself! It may seem to be less melodic at first, but the second riff brings things back to the melodic and catchy norm. After many listenings , this song became one of my preferred ones on the CD. “WITHOUT WORDS” is track nr.5. Well, I WILL try to use words to describe it , even if these do fail me in this case: this is in my opinion the best song on “Porphyrogenesis”! As Swedish sounding as it gets , it has the power to draw you in and take your breath away with its beautifully sorrowful yet quick-paced riffs… Excellent BM is what this is! The next song bears the title “FRAGMENTED RED SUN” and carries on in the atmosphere created by the previous hymns. The speed is the weapon again and one cannot complain that it lacks the riff quality heard throughout the CD, far from that! It’s simply awesome!. Now what can I say about “OFF TO WAR”! It belongs to the best efforts on “Porphyrogenesis” and is awesome in its hectic pace, yet filled with beauty! Fans of Dissection might hear some similarities in the guitarwork , though of course the music is more BM here. The CD is rounded off by “SHADOWS FROM HIGH-HELL”, a song slightly slower than most but not weaker in quality or mood. I think having a final track with a bit of a different pace (even if it DOES get fast in some riffs) is more than welcome.

All I can say, to end this review, is that “Porphyrogenesis”, just like Blot Mine as a band, is extremely underrated and surely deserves more respect that the albums released by bands who think that Black Metal is only about playing as fast as you can! So if you hunger for good Swedish BM, this CD is a gem that should be in your collection!

good dark funeral clone - 59%

crazpete, June 13th, 2004

To begin with, fans of black metal who hate the polished formulaic sound of so-called ‘Norsecore’ bands like Dark Funeral and Marduk should leave this cd well enough alone. This release falls solidly in place with such simple melodic black metal acts such as the aforementioned bands. Everything from the production to the songwriting mirrors the sound employed by such bands.

If you are a fan of bands like Dark Funeral, Marduk, Enthroned, Infernal, early Keep of Kalessin, etc., this release will be right up your alley. The guitarwork here is a jumble of speed-picked minor melodic melodies strung out over minor bar chords in endless variety and repetition. All the usual tricks used to get a ‘dark,’ ‘powerful,’ and ‘evil’ sound out of the guitars are used on this album. Upward arpeggios climb one minor chord only to come back down a half-step away in the overdone yet still effective manner that gave this style of black metal one of its most recognizable musical idioms. Speed-picking here is fast and even, well-played and suitably blurring as the band attempts relatively successfully to provide a feeling of intense speed. Breaks in the arpeggios and minor bar chords are present, but meander safely inside the aeolian mode, sometimes hovering on dissonant intervals to create a decent amount of tension.

Drums here rage along with all the speed and accuracy one would expect from a professional outfit of spike-encrusted snarling corpsepainted thugs sweating inside uncomfortable leather and vinyl outfits decorated with the requisite inverted crosses and pentagrams. There are good fills and nice changes in speed that serve to give otherwise plain riffs some semblance of emotion or at least variety. Beats range from the typical gamut of blast beats, thrash beats, double-bass rumbles, and uber-staccato tom-laden fills so emblematic to the genre.

Vocals here are yet again standard issue for the type of metal being spewed forth. Rasping screams and gurgling yells scatter over most riffs, leaving the highly melodic lines alone and chiming in whenever the ‘chorus’ minor bar chords meander from root to fourth to seventh positions again and again. Lyrical content is mostly unintelligible, but occasional phrases of evil, darkness, and astral realities keep one from being surprised.

In conclusion: fans of clone bands of Dark Funeral and Marduk are in for yet another treat in a long parade of formula-bound bands, as this is one of the better of the bunch; consistently well-executed and flawless in its execution of familiar material. Fans of originality, creativity, emotion, and unique metal should look elsewhere…