I’ve been waiting for this album for months, after all, I have been a fan of the band for more than 2 years now, after starting to read their adventures on http://belzebubsofficial.tumblr.com before finally getting to watch the “Blackened Call” music video below when it was released last year. I also received my hard cover copy of their biography this week, which does focus primarily on Sløth and chronicles up to the point where Samaël joins the band and just before they are signed to Century Media. Definitely a worthwhile read if you’re wanting to know more about the ‘bubs.
Recorded at Hellhole Studios during autumn 2018, the album also features a guest roster including the likes of Desibelius, ICS Vortex and Skvllcraft along with being mixed and mastered by the legendary Dan Swanö.
The album opens with the excellent “Cathedrals Of Mourning” which contains everything you’d want from a black metal band; orchestral elements, haunting synth melodies and the exquisitely beautiful operatic vocals of Skvllcraft to contrast Sløth’s harsh death growl and his and Obesyx’s rapid guitar riffs. The latter’s lead on the song is also hard hitting enough to come down on you like the side of a mountain.
The gently building keyboards of “The Faustian Alchemist” give way to tremoloed guitars before the roaring vocals and Samaël’s blasting drum beats enter the fray. Obesyx’s hyperfast lead is also something to behold as it works its way up from a mellow interlude in the song and then into a race against the keyboards towards its end.
The aforementioned “Blackened Call” is next, where the band head more into death territory with heaviness, but the pace and melody remain firmly in the black with keyboards and leads being airy and light. Unlike the dark, foggy and windy video.
“Acheron” is substantially slower and concentrates more on atmosphere as it ebbs and flows between heavy and ambient with a lengthy winding lead as long as the Nile for good measure.
The newest song to receive a lyric video is “Nam Gloria Lucifer”, with its heavy but malodorous guitar riffs and steady drumming incrementally increasing in pace to crescendo as the song ends.
Starting off rather sweetly with acoustic guitars then gently becoming heavier, before subduing completely to be harmonious vocals accompanied by acoustic guitars and Hubbath’s light bass rumble, “The Crowned Daughters” progressively gets heavier and nastier until it becomes “Dark Mother” with its spat out vocals, which are in complete contrast to the gore-geous female vocals that end the song.
The very allegro feel of “The Werewolf Bride” belies the technical intricacies of the music as it’s most likely glossed over as you bang your head unabashedly in appreciation of the rhythm.
They end the album with the epic title track “Pantheon Of The Nightside Gods”, comprising of majestic keyboards filled out by guitars and an unholy choir of fallen angels, then meander between heavier riffs with beastly vocals to orchestral pieces that shall have your corpse paint running down your cheeks in no time.
Annoyingly my promo doesn’t include the Bonus tracks: “Nuns In the Purgatory” and “Maleficarum”, guess I’ll need to add the limited edition to my wish-list.
This album is a definite must for any black, death or thrash fan, or plain metal fan for that matter, or anyone that appreciates music. Actually, just get it, it’s worth having.
(8/10 Marco Gaminara)