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Superior Enlightenment - The great obscurantism - 80%

Phuling, January 5th, 2010

Prior to pressing play for the first time to hear the debut album of Superior Enlightenment I had no idea what to expect other than fast-forward black metal. But I guess that description can fit into thousands of other bands so it’s certainly not enough to distinguish one act from another or even be worthy of attention. But I gotta say this is way more than I could’ve anticipated, in more ways I could’ve imagined.

Sure-as-hell, this is certainly fast-forward mangle. Not sure if the drums let go of the blastbeats for more than a few seconds at time, just to ease up on the relentless hammering. It goes by so fast one could almost believe it to be programmed, but this is a live drummer, folks. To label it as black metal would be an insult to their efforts, seeing as how it contains tons of death metal as well. At times I can’t help but to think of Belphegor and Behemoth for that blackened death brutality, and it certainly does share some aspects of said bands. But suddenly I’m stricken with this overwhelming Nile reminiscence that I think is not only to do with the aggression in sound and riffing, but also a certain vibe to the vocals (but I’ll get to the vocal department later on). But then we have some sampling of almost martial industrialism, some of which Monargue contributed with, if that gives you an idea of the quality of it. So at times I get these strong Hate vibes, of that industrial edged modern death metal variant. And the black metal base of it all somehow reminds me of some Swedish 90ies acts (but I guess that’s just due to my own heritage and the scene I’m mostly familiar with), with Thy Primordial and mid Marduk being the most prominent ones. So bring all of these comparisons together and imagine what you’ll get; one hell of a relentless album.

As I said this is some fast shit and that makes it incredibly brutal. But to keep it from becoming too repetitive they’ve not only thrown in the occasional drum beat switch, but also the short industrial sections. Sometimes it’ll interrupt a song so abruptly you’ll get thrown of course and not sure what the hell’s going on, and at other times it’s the other way around as a track can start with a neofolk-esque touch (as in "Ineffable winds of Neptune") only to be abruptly interrupted by the unrelenting blasting. The riffing is slick and lethal, sounding equally as chilling and harsh as the drum department, and also bringing with it varying species. And then we have the vocals, which reign from the pure black metal shrieks to deep grunts to a shout just on the edge of clean, and it was that last one that reminded me of Nile. And I have to say; being the repetitive brutal album that it is it has a surprising amount of variation. If I ever feel like getting myself trampled to exhaustion I won’t hesitate to put Superior Enlightenment’s debut on.

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