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A radiant nightfall. - 80%

Diamhea, October 24th, 2015

For those of you wondering where the hell Ben disappeared to after ditching Sybreed, Deathcode Society is not the answer many have expected it to be. The band has done a good job to hide their identities, and despite claims to the contrary, Ben has been out of the band for years. Plus conceptually, this music has little to do with the spastic industrial jaunt of Sybreed, and features absolutely no clean vocals. So to clear the air right away, Eschatonizer should not be judged against this standard nor approached with any preconceived notions concerning former members. This is in many ways a creative outlet for Arnhwald R., who dominates the songwriting and proves that he has more iniquitous objectives, specifically symphonic black metal in the vein of Emperor (which is the biggest influence) along with a slightly more modern, caustic guitar attack. It is an interesting deviation that successfully pulls off the purported style, but to what end?

One of reasonable returns, so it seems. Eschatonizer storms out of the gates with "Pandemonium 1.1" along with the more sweeping, staggered disposition of "Noos." The latter fluidly implements choral backing to stack more dissonance on the ever-growing heap of atmospheric potency. This atmosphere is clearly the album's trump card, yet it comes at a price. As one simple glance at the tracklisting will prove, many of these tunes wander and have the proclivity to lose focus. The classically-influenced approach works well enough to bridge the gap, but concerns remain. At their best, Deathcode Society function as an amped up Abigor with some early Vesania-esque riffing intervals. Take "The Inner Vortex" for example, which masticates with accuracy and class. The majority of the tunes are incendiary enough to shrug off the meandering runtimes. A worthy excursion concerning these observations alone.

While Eschatonizer has the tendency to stagger, it does pick up steam as it goes, concluding with an uncalled for cover of Judas Priest's "Metal Meltdown," which somehow translates competently into the band's style without sounding too awkward. Elsewhere the band fires up the frets in tune with the symphonic threading woven throughout boilers like "Seraphic Requiem;" a clinic of symphonic black metal executed with controlled flair and adherence to the essentials. Keyboards are used extensively but never overwhelm the sound, accentuating the atmosphere and playing off the riffs. The biggest knock I have on Deathcode Society at this point is that they are somewhat one-note, and rarely deviate stylistically from their initial landing point. They play this style with panache and competency, but a void indeed remains afterward.

That all said, I did enjoy Eschatonizer as a collective entity. A solid assemblage of dissonant, rabid black metal authority intertwined with mournful keyboards that evoke that early '90s aesthetic so hard to pin down nowadays. For that alone, Deathcode Society have earned a positive rating and should be tracked down by fans of Emperor, Limbonic Art and such. Don't expect compact lethality, but skip to "The Inner Vortex" to experience the most visceral riffing assault present here. I dig the ambition and enthusiasm of Deathcode Society, so check these guys out!

Promo courtesy of The Metal Observer