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Complete Devastation - 99%

HeySharpshooter, February 1st, 2012

Standing firmly on the precipice of chaotic, Satanic orgy yet never quite diving into the blood and semen, Sulfur Seraph(The Archon Principle) achieves an unbelievable level of intensity and destruction while remaining thought-out and self-controlled. This is a rare feat in Metal today, as bands either ape older acts for their ideas or become so lost in creativity as to lose purpose. Germany's Charon have delivered something truly wicked and evil with this album, yet also something purposeful and driven. The maturity of the song-writing here is incredibly impressive, and without a doubt Sulfur Seraph is the first great album of 2012.

What makes Sulfur Seraph so great is how dense with ideas it is without ever feeling over-wrought or directionless. At just under forty minutes, this album packs more murder and madness per minute than just about any album I have heard. Moving effortlessly from black thrash to bestial black metal and occult death metal, Charon wield their ideas like finely crafted blades. Each track flows into the other, creating a thick atmosphere that is surprisingly varied. Charon display the ability to drown you in death ala Incantation, before exploding into a Thrash blitzkrieg that would make Sarcofago proud. Even the vocal attack is varied, coming at your from all directions with vicious shrieks, cavernous gutturals, madden chants, tortured screams and demonic whispers.

Sulfur Seraph provides so much, yet asks so little from the listener, another rarity in today's underground metal scene were reverb and static rule supreme. The production is appropriately raw, but also even and competent: this was not recorded at the bottom of the ocean. And there is something oddly accessible about this album, despite it's density. At times, Charon bring to mind early Belphegor(although Charon are much thrashier and more occult) in how they present such brutal and blistering ideas in ways that don't come off as forced or purposely unappealing. Song-writing just doesn't get much better than this.

The year has just barely begun, but already a surefire contender for album of the year has emerged. Sulfur Seraph(The Archon Principle) is one of those rare albums that hits all the marks for greatness. Bestial, brutal, dark, atmospheric, creative, inventive and accessible. The complete package if there ever was one.

Rating: 10/10

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