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Time to Throw in the Unholy Towell - 60%

Roffle_the_Thrashard, July 26th, 2016

For some this need not be said, but making release after release for 26 years, with 21 of them under your belt in that time, can pretty much wipe out the creative juice that some groups have. Granted there are Iron Maidens and Slayers out there that seem to keep a decent pace with their albums and don’t really tend to run out of that much creativeness or energy. On the other hand you have New Paltz, New York’s Profanatica. On their latest full-length in installment in their career entitled, The Curling Flame of Blasphemy, they have proven to me that a cool atmosphere is not enough to make your album work to a complete extent.

When I first listened to this album I immediately noticed the album artwork, which is akin to the art of Immolation’s Dawn of Possession. That made me instantly captivated. I was also captivated by the sludgy, grimy tone of John Gelso’s guitar and bass work, and the foreboding vocals and drums of Paul Ledney. Things were looking good for this album so far. For that song that is. The same notes, riff patterns, and even some melodies repeated themselves more than what was needed throughout The Curling Flame of Blasphemy, and after “Magic & Muhr” had finished running its sinister course, I said to myself “please don’t let the whole album be like this.” I didn’t really get my wish all that much.

The band would sometimes mix things up with some tempo changes in the drumming department or having little drum fills or rudiments at the beginning of some songs to start them up. And with that being said I think that it is the drumming that saved this album from being total snooze fest. It can be refreshingly complex at times, but even simple and blasting. The vocals of drummer Paul Ledney are not well mixed into the album, but this record isn’t supposed to be pretty. This ugliness both hurts and helps Ledney and Gelso, as it takes away from the production quality, but adds to the ambience. Speaking of ambience, although Profanatica’s description is “black/death metal,” fans of Sunn O))), Evoken, and even the Melvins will approve of the sometimes droning, entrancing, doom metal riffs that can be heard on The Curling Flame of Blasphemy.

I don’t have a problem with drone or funeral doom metal, but I cannot listen to it for more than twenty minutes at time, so basically one song (ba-dum-tss). So if you share similar views with me just walk away from this thing. Boredom will be induced for you. I’ve always admired bands that can stick around for ages and never really tire all that much, but when the creative juices stop flowing very well, you’ve got to either A), move on to new playing styles, or B), quit. Look at Death in the 1990′s. Schuldiner and the gang wanted to branch out, and they ended up making albums like Human and Symbolic. So, as for Profanatica, The Curling Flame of Blasphemy is interesting, but only for a few songs, and then monotony ensues. I think that they’ll try new things after this, and if they do it will certainly help their career. What we can take from this is that evolution is key, unless of course you’re formula is tried and true. I’m looking at you ACDC…