Of all the subgenres in metal, two of the most extreme kinds have always been black metal and death metal. While death metal is known for its down tuned brutality and gore, black metal deals with treble high tremolo storms and hyper blast beat drumming. Ever since the inception of these two genres, bands have been trying to blend them together, to create a sound that is both brutal and sinister at the same time. I am not talking about blackened death metal. Rather, I am talking about proper black / death metal that have been blended successfully by bands like Archgoat, Preludium, Blasphemy, Necrophobic etc. I am going to introduce you to new bands that do a solid job in bringing out the best of both genres. Both bands are from the UK and both have released their sophomore full lengths recently. Though they both play similar styles of music, there are some contrasting differences that set them apart.
Abyssal – Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius
Abyssal is a band that likes to carry an air of enigma about it. For starters, the band simply gives its location as the UK, with no clues as to where in the UK they originated from. Also unknown is the name and number of the members in this band. One thing this band lets us know for sure however, is that when it comes to music, they spawn some of the most evil and heavy tunes ever written. ‘Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius’ (translates from Latin as: For the Lord knows them that are his) is the band’s sophomore effort and was released in January 2013.
This band adds a helpful portion of doom metal influence to the black / death mix. The tracks themselves start out in manic and cacophonous ways, usually at high speeds. The listener is dropped in the middle of a sonic mayhem, before the music slowly drifts into calmer and more atmospheric territories.
The atmosphere is a key factor in Abyssal’s music. The crushingly heavy atmosphere makes its presence felt both in the haywire sections and the calmer doom metal sections. Lyrically too, they do a fine job in bringing out the best of both genres, as the songs contain good measures of gore and occultism. These lyrics are brought to life by deep guttural vocals that sound sinister and monstrous.
True to its name, Abyssal plunges the listener into a deep dark abyss of gore and mysticism. ‘Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius’ is one of the heaviest records to come out in recent times and last month, it received a double LP pressing courtesy of Iron Bonehead Productions. This is a release that no fan of extreme metal should miss.
Lvcifyre – Svn Eater
Why is it that many metal bands feel the need to replace every ‘U’ with a ‘V’? I don’t know how others find it. But personally I find it very annoying, especially considering that this band comes from the country that invented this language. But if one were to judge this band based on their butchering of the English language, one would miss out on a solid black death force.
Hailing from the mean streets of London, England, this band’s music is firmly rooted within the black / death genre, with a slight inclination towards black metal. In contrast to Abyssal’s style, Lvcifyre starts out slow like a doom metal band, before building on the intensity and darkness. This enables the listener to get used to the dark and gloomy atmosphere, before the total madness is unleashed. The band stays comfortable in sticking to the mid tempo range, seldom going faster but often going slower. Once again, atmosphere plays a key role in the music and the riffs blend with the darkness surrounding the music.
The vocalist T.Kaos has a very versatile style, ranging from deep growls to demonic snarls. His vocal work makes the music sound very demonic. The riffs conjured by him and Dictator offer a lot of memorable moments within the songs. It must be appreciated how Menthor’s drumming is not flooded by double bass alone. Infact, the double bass blastbeats are employed only when absolutely necessary.
Grammatical inaccuracies aside, this is a solid block of atmospheric black / death metal that gives the listener a very demonic and dark experience. ‘Svn Eater’ was released on 21st January 2014 through Dark Descent Records. Do not overlook this.