Just when you thought the Australian extreme metal scene couldn’t get any better, along came Denouncement Pyre back in 2013 with the devastating Almighty Arcanum. As if to prove that was no fluke, and clearly determined not to leave the field open this year for fellow countrymen like Destroyer666 to soak up all the antipodean glory, they’re back with another fine example of how it’s all done.
It’s probably no surprise that there is yet again considerable cross-fertilisation of talent in the band – notably members of Nocturnal Graves, Order of Orias and Funerary Pit make up the ranks. But Denouncement Pyre does not feel like anyone’s side project. Far from it: this is an explosion of blackened death metal with charcoal fire vocals that could flame-grill your average barbie burger in seconds and with enough devastating riffs to make cans of Fosters spontaneously combust all the way to the band’s home town in Melbourne.
Denouncement Pyre combines sheer black metal magic with death metal power. They also employ a decent amount of Marduk-style gear shifting. Sure they can unleash the speed demons when they want to – and tracks like Deathless Dreaming remind us where these guys are coming from. It’s a sinew-ripping start (barring the two minute intro) and works like a call to arms even though it’s far from the album’s peak. But then it’s always good to hold something back and, indeed, it’s the following track Wounds of Golgotha where Denouncement Pyre begin to show their sprawling might.
It’s got more than a little Destroyer666 in its soul and replaces frenetic pace with pressure-building thunder. A couple of minutes in, and screaming, blackened tremolo chords begin to fly like the sparks in some unholy, hellish manufacturing den – before the track finally descends into a mesmerising black metal vortex to quickly prove that Denouncement Pyre are no Australian scene also-rans and that Black Sun Unbound is an album where blackened surprises lurch forth from the darkness time and again.
By the time we arrived just beyond the album’s midway-point with the title track, a bestial, barbaric hymn, the band have very little left to prove beyond loosening its grip for a few brief moments. Instead they continue to crank up their efforts considerably. Sure, I could say that some of those soaring, epic tremolos sound a little familiar but the band packages them together into a muscular punch that delivers time and time again. Monster tracks like Witness unleash a truly Australian-created rasping hell but combined with a very European knack for turning on the venomous melody just when you figured things couldn’t get any better.
I could hurl any number of names into this from Watain to Bestial Warlust, or just about any Aussie extreme band, to be honest. But Denouncement Pyre are their own men and work their own evil ways extremely well preferring to rely on a more polished production than endless reverb. By the final track Sophrosune, a black metal whirlwind, the Denouncement Pyre conflagration has truly taken over. There are faults here – and arguably that’s all part of the Aussie scene – but rarely are such faults wrapped in such a relentless and pleasurable package of ominous power.
(8.5/10 Reverend Darkstanley)