Ten years on from “Vrondor II: Conducting the Orchestra of Evil” these devotees of black metal from Belgium have released their third album. The opener “A Symbol of Acrimony” is like an icon of black metal. No sludgy, eerie bits but the start has a symphonic aspect to it before it takes off and violently set fires and destroys everything in front of it, breaking down momentarily to reflect the burning ash and suffering. This comes from the Marduk end of the spectrum.
I’m not sure how it took 10 years to produce this album but there may be logistical reasons for that of course. I like the fire, changes of tempo, intensity and overwhelming battery of noise, but to be honest it’s hard to pick out anything new. Perhaps that’s not the intention. I do agree with the statement in the publicity that this isn’t easy listening and that’s a plus point. We are talking about death and destruction after all. I wasn’t sure that the spoken section of the title track added anything, in fact I’d say it detracted from the murderous atmosphere, but I did appreciate the war-like march and the atmosphere of devastation that this track brought to the burning table. Is the next track really called “Diety”? I checked in three places and that’s how it’s written. Or is it as in “Diet of Worms”, which refers to an assembly? If there ever was a song, which wasn’t about lettuces and salads, this was it. The track itself has the customary ferocity until, about three minutes in, there’s the spoken part and a tuneless pagan-like section, which musically added no continuity whatsoever. I’m not sure the intention of the sombre instrumental “… And Then The Fall” but any impact was lost in any case after the mystifying “Diety”. “Vision of the Seven Tombs” is a short blast, serving as I saw it as a prelude to more epic “Doom Upon Doom”. This is Thronum Vrondor at their best. Fuel is heaped upon the blazing fire. “The Last Specs of A Dying Light” is slower and darker in tone, but I’d suggest it would be better earlier in the album, as while interesting it’s too complex as a closing track on this mixed bag of an album.
I looked up Ichor, knowing it had something to do with Greek mythology, and sure enough it refers “to the fluid that flows like blood in the veins of the gods”. Thronum Vrondor do partial justice to this, clotting the flow here and there with poorly executed transitions and unconvincing spoken parts. When in full flow, “Ichor (The Rebellion)” is imperious and dominating.
(6/10 Andrew Doherty)