I got this album quite some time before the release date which can be a blessing in disguise. It’s good as it allows you to get to grips with the music a bit better but when it is as foul and fetid a listening experience as this is it can kind of tip you over the edge a bit as you tend to spend far too much time letting it chip away at you. Of course the mind wanders too and you still don’t fantastically get beneath it, rather it gets beneath you.
Royal Arch Blaspheme for the uninitiated is a project helmed by two sick luminaries from the bowels of the USBM scene. All instruments are horrendously contorted by J Gelso of Profanatica infamy and mangling the vocal gurgles is Imperial of amongst others Krieg notoriety. With this in mind you are well aware that this is going to be no particularly pleasant listening experience. Following on from their debut self titled album in 2010 this album number II does make up for its non descript title with some nicely descriptive song names the first of which is gloriously entitled ‘When Thy Cruel Nails Pierced Thy Tender Hands And Feet.’ This lurches in with sluggish drum hits and utterly throat raped vocals spewed up like blood vomit. It is instantly nasty and quickly changes into a mid-paced sluggish cavalcade of gnarly beats and riffs. Lingering under this is a harmony which rises above the incessant and primitive tones, it’s still very simple and repetitive but it works and burrows away into your head as it spreads its contagion.
Playing the albums back to back (which is not particularly advisable) it is not that there is an obvious progression here but more of a continuation of ideas and the blasphemous theme behind it all. This is black, sludge, doom metal for those that need to breathe an idea of genre into it and it is also a very back to basics bestial affair which chugs and rumbles on, building up rhythms and solidly laying them down. The incessant gnawing guitar tones of numbers like ‘Ashes Of The Holy Ghost’ are akin to biting your finger nails down to the bone, something that listening to the album seems to have made me do. When the music rises to its fastest trajectory it is violent and vile in equal measures, melody is there but it is skewed and disconcerting. ‘Profane Rite’ slows to a gravid crawl which gives emphasis to the cadaverous vokills and gives gives things an ominous vibe of fear and foreboding before it flails off whiplashing away like body blows on a crucified false prophet. As for the words of ‘Psalm 39’ I cannot make them out but I bet they are somewhat inverted!
You get the feel of an actual structured song with ‘Resurrection Of Depravity’ its like finding a glimmer of light in a grotty cavern but that does not mean that it is any less nasty in execution it’s just that the loose riffs are that much more harmonic. On the whole though you really have to dig to find any semblance of humanity amidst the albums obstreperous extremity. Following herd mentality is not an option here and nor is the mark given reflective in any part on ‘enjoyment’ this is not an album to enjoy but one to endure and it brings out the musical masochist in me. Finishing with the longest track ‘Broken Word Of God’ delivered like a final curse on all you hold dear, the final nail is a slow and crushing morass of hate.
The mouth is not muzzled and its voice is ultimately wicked, amen!
(6.66/10 Pete Woods)