Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

A Satanic Smorgasboard - 75%

Zealot_Crusader, April 27th, 2013

Neldoreth have jumped back and forth between raw black metal and brutal death metal, but with their previous two proper album releases being in the former style and not the latter, the casual listener wouldn't even know a change had occurred if not for the influences found on this record. In the time that has elapsed since the band's last release in 2006, a smear of demos and rehearsals were recorded, with little actually coming out into public hands outside of a single EP in 2010. The grueling reality of no new full-length album in nearly seven years didn't deter band leader and principle songwriter Oz Bloodcurse, and this album is the long-awaited proof.

"The Saints of Blasphemy I: Baptized in Blasphemy" is the first of a planned trilogy, and sets off a new era of the band with mixture of occult lyrics and extreme metal influences. Make no mistake, these guys are no joke when it comes to Satanism either, as this is real devil-worship, not just the usual claptrap. On the other hand, it isn't strictly black metal in nature either, because there is way to much melody and diversity in the songwriting to just be attributed to that genre alone. Overall, it's just all over the place when it comes to riffs, but pulls together the general feeling of being a death metal-influenced black metal experience, instead of just the usual retread of the Norwegian sound or something involving vampires.

On the plus side, tracks like "Baptized in Blasphemy" and "Christian Depotism" show off a range of songwriting styles and riff ideas, with the epic-length "Ritual Suicide" going back and forth between droning reminiscent of early Burzum and more progressive territory. Lyrics never fail to hit home the seriousness of this act, and the vocal approach is a raspy sort of bark that isn't seen much outside of the 1980's these days, in place of the usual pseudo-Scandinavian screech, tough guy growl or cookie-monster burp seen in most acts these days. Again this is not the typical modern black metal or death metal album. Neldoreth craft an album where every song is it's own unique monster, which saddens me that there isn't more than the five proper selections here.

On the minus side, this one does have a bit of filler between these five tracks, which are understandably meant to underscore the ritualistic purpose of such music to begin with, but could have been shorter and less numerous on the album, In this regard, one is reminded of early Acheron, where every song was preceded by an interlude; a cover song or a b-side track would have gladly been accepted in place of the chants or the ambient piece at the album's end, but knowing that there are two more planned releases in this vein is some consolation. Additionally, the production is a bit too clean and sterile for the style of music here. Anybody who knows about this band knows they've had difficulties with keeping live musicians, so it's reasonable that they used a digital drum kit/drum machine for the making of this album, but a bit more could have been done to hide the fact by making the production a little thicker or rawer in key areas.

In conclusion, this is a good start for the trilogy and a great place to discover the band. Arguably, it's hard to ask for more from a band plagued by years of setbacks, to the point of having to use pre-recorded sections for live appearances. Granted, there is a lot to be nitpicked about on the record, but one could do far worse when only working with two musicians and producing everything independently. For fans of Acheron, Vital Remains, Dark Funeral, Blasphemy, and Beherit.