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Absolute darkness - 87%

ultraviolet, July 28th, 2012

It’s been more than a decade since Embrace Of Thorns emerged in the Hellenic underground and now it’s clear that the time has come for them to claim their share in the international leadership of true and dark black/death metal. The signs were already visible since 2009 with “Atonement Ritual” but it’s their newest effort, “Praying For Absolution”, which has come to annihilate everything that stands between them and the elite of contemporary extreme sound.

With Abomination Virginborn (of Dead Congregation fame) having been totally embodied into the band’s musical concept, EoT appear more atmospheric and spiritual than ever. The early era of minimal blackmetal belongs to the distant past and the juvenile (welcome, yet somewhat immature) wrath has given way to a deeper cosmic theory. However, for Archfiend DevilPig (vocals/guitars) and Herald Of Demonic Pestilence (guitars) who are mainly responsible of the musical direction, the main achievement here is that to describe “Praying…” one cannot use typical comments like “a mix of X and Y, while at some parts they remind us Z”. Indeed, the ‘10s edition of Embrace Of Thorns plays ITS OWN, personal style of tenebrous death metal.

The songs here develop their own conscience, they change rhythms and speed in ways paralleled to spiritual transitions. The riffs sometimes crawl while other times burst out as heard in the devastating chorus of the self-titled track. The guitar leads (i.e “Ancient Waters Speak” or “A Mass For Fiends Forlorn”) bring to mind the long gone early 90s, the rhythm section of Goat Molestor (bass guitar) and Nuctemeron (drums) is as solid as it should be and upon this canvas come the cold words spat from Archfiend to play the role of guide along paths that lead outside modern man’s common sense.

In an era where the phrase “I insert a record into my stereo, press “play” and sit down to LISTEN with my attention fixed on it” keeps constantly decreasing in popularity, Embrace Of Thorns choose the rough way of a dense full-length (47 minutes are all but few for the depth and intensity of their music). I have no idea whether their work will gain the acceptance it deserves, but for those fans that will give “Praying…” the devotion it demands, their reward will be much more than “another decent death metal album”.

Originally written for:

Raw And Evil - 90%

slasher47, February 6th, 2012

I got this LP as soon as it came out, hoping it would be just as good as their previous full length "Atonement Ritual", and I ended up liking it more. Embrace of Thorns never fails to stay evil throughout the duration of their LPs, and that is what I like most about them. They have a style of death metal that to me sounds...smooth. This album reminds me of Darkthrone's "Soulside Journey". There is lots of tremolo picking, a dark and evil atmosphere, with an occasional black metal guitar riff.

The drumming on this album is very clean, but with a raw mix. The vocals are low, have reverb, with not much contrast at all, but it goes great with the sound of the instruments. This album does not wear itself out due to the sound staying consistent throughout the whole album. This is an easy album to get an atmosphere for, while only some riffs are memorable, and the others are their just to contribute to the dark and evil sound and the very "riffy" song structure. This album has a lot of riffs, which is why it does not get worn out. There are a couple interludes throughout the album that contribute to the feel, and make it interesting and its own.

Overall this is an evil album, not boring, nice and raw, and different.