Way back in 2010 I was handed a promo by this Polish blackened death metal lot to review and was eagerly awaiting the full length. Which never turned up. Until now. The confusing thing is it seems to have been out for a while, but at least that means you won’t have to wait to get your hands on it.

Should you? I’m glad you asked.

Pandemonium have been on the go for over a decade and in all fairness to them I think their profile has been a little low. In fact on the strength of Misanthropy they could squarely fall into the ‘criminally underrated’ category. They play a brand of blackened death metal in a melodic but still chunky and aggressive vein that has class all the way down to the hell fired engine room. Think a less progressive, less sensual but still emotional Akercocke maybe, with guttural and muttered vocals from the off in ‘The Black Forest’. Its a very direct sound; nice big up tempo riffage that undulates with and almost Middle Eastern undercurrent of sinister melody, a nod to the heritage of Celtic Frost’s ‘Into The Pandemonium’ whilst staying on a straighter path. As we progress through ‘God Delusion’ and  the slower grind of ‘Necro Judas’ the vocals and backing voices form a legion of the possessed at times, nattering and snapping with lovely chaotic effect and even though tracks come in around the five our six minute mark they wind their way into you in a fine manner.

They introduce some wailing female voices on ‘ Stones Are Eternal’ which combined with the ‘legion chorus’ pull the song into discordant territory but securely anchored by the more traditional riffing.

‘Avant-Garde Underground’ though whilst fitting the style of Misanthropy somehow feels like a bit of a jolt and the militaristic stamp of ‘Everlasting Opposition’ adds a semi industrial feel to the album but is also alas the least interesting song here as it ends feeling a little too technical for me, a bit clinical.

There is one irritation here and that is the drum sound: The constant rat-a-tat-tat often gives an over-triggered, flat and sterile sound to parts that need a deep pumping heart, like the heavily Middle Eastern thump of ‘Only The Dead Shall See The End Of War’. It is a shame but with strong song writing and a natural flair for esoteric flavourings to their death metal Pandemonium generally rise above the few flaws.

The smouldering title track, once more with those female vocals closes things in a swirl of slow, dark, sweet fumes that leaves me a little dizzy with some unexpected symphonic flourishes but very pleased.

Not groundbreaking, no, but Misanthropy is a fine bit of melodic and blackened death metal, well worth your hard earned cash. Here’s hoping they get some recognition.

(7/10 Gizmo)