Is there anything more Metal than subject matter pulled from ancient religious texts? Probably not and in the times of the present this brand of unholy scripture is prime subject matter for the forward progression of Metals chaos fuelled underground. For me personally I take great pleasure in mythological and ancient religious based texts that depict hellish demons, human corruption and demise. Although that may be seen as a touch nihilistic it is the sheer apocalyptic nature that the words generate in one’s mind that make these tomes so appealing and ultimately so intrinsically metallic.

Worshippers to the unholy Dakhma rise from Zurich in Switzerland to bring destruction through Hamkar Atonement the bands debut full length released through Iron Bonehead Productions. The bands prior works have gained praise, yet this is our first real indulgent delicacy to be presented by the band. Their brand of Blackened Death Metal twinned with Zoroastrian lyrical themes sure sounds like an interesting mix but how exactly does it shape up.

Quite frankly Hamkar Atonement is show-stopping, genre-defying Bestial tinged, Progressive, cathartic Blackened Death Metal with little to no room for improvement. Clocking in at over an hour long and with only two songs below the ten minute mark Dakhma aren’t shy of substance and my is there a lot of that. Atmospheric, haunting, ritualistic, unorthodox chantings and sounds whirl amid the battering shards of dissonant, cascading guitars and pummelling drums. These traits are prevalent throughout but particularly stand to attention in The Glorious Fall Of Ohrmzad (Hail Death, Triumpant) and Nanghait (Born Of Fire).

The enveloping punishment of this blinding release knows no bounds and carries even into the later half of the album, Gannag Menog (Foul Death, Triumphant) being another absolute gem of a track. This is by no means music for the uninitiated. If you haven’t been exposed to this level of nigh of Revenge, Blasphemy influenced War Metal touched bestial fury then you might find Hamkar Atonement a little too much. However to the right ear this is a work of art rivalling Necros Christos in terms of unorthodox hellfire.

A pleasure to behold and an album that seemingly struggles to become a bore. To say an album is perfect in my mind is ridiculous but you seldom get closer than Hamkar Atonement. Some albums stick with you, others pass you by but this is a real spectacle of underground Metal and as I sit here I am overwhelmed in sheer amazement. Dakhma understand exactly what there is in an underground sound and exactly how to make hellish music, to put it bluntly this album has shocked me into a state of sheer wonderment.

(10/10 George Caley)