Paraded as a “novel blend of black metal, death metal and doom”, the publicity for this album draws in such names as Marduk, Immortal, Emperor, Candlemass and Angel Witch. It all sounds too much for me.
Sure enough, the opening track “The Ashes of Your Fall” finds itself in a no man’s land of epically aspirational metal. Technically it’s fine but there’s no thread and nothing gripping about it. Nor was there any black metal, but there is compensation courtesy of an Immortal style opening on “The Pinnacle of Hypocrisy”. Mid way through there’s a diversion into more mainstream metal territory before it returns back to the original black style. The end has a flourish but it’s the bit in the middle that concerns me. It’s neither here nor there. A further style changes results in the forward driving doomy metal “The Cries of the Weak”. I sensed an atmosphere but with galloping drums, classic metal pomp, growls and haunting sections, I struggled to work out what the intended atmosphere was supposed to be. At least “Greed of Lesser Men” starts in pompous style before heading off into dirty melodic black metal. The band must know what this was all leading up to or aimed at, and it sounds like they’re having fun switching around and in my view watering down the black metal part with classic metal passages. There is energy however, and whilst there is little continuity, there are seeds of imagination and theatre. The problem is that it’s overplayed and comes across as false. I was on my guard as “The Peons of the Cosmos” marched off defiantly, as I was expecting the frost to thaw. True to form, the march morphs into a plastic-sounding chorus, thus detracting from the evil effect which was there from the start. What I wasn’t expecting was the quasi-epic progressive power ballad, which started “The Fight for the Subhuman”. Credit to the band for trying different things, I suppose. There is a classical guitar, sound effects and doomy tones as we sway through a grandiose chorus, before it plays itself out with delicate guitar strains and fades into oblivion.
This didn’t work for me. I thought “NihilReich” (Nothingness Kingdom) was a bit of a mess. There was little or no atmospheric thread, and I found the album quite frustrating.
(5/10 Andrew Doherty)