After two firecracker albums in “Gates No Longer Shut” (2016) and “Igne Natura Renovatur Integra” (2018), Polish black metal band Misanthropic Rage makes a welcome return with this one. Both of the previous albums were atmospheric and sophisticated, differing from each other in subtlety and scope.

As the first two albums differed from each other, so does this one. Strong on atmosphere and echo, the title track leads the assault. The aura is that of Behemoth. Drums trigger in a truly black metal way. The sound and atmosphere are dark. The music is of course heavy. “The Noise of a New Day” exemplifies Misanthropic Rage’s tendency to deviate from the norm. The sound is dirty. The vocals are obscure and disturbing, sounding as if they come from an alien world. The bell sounds, but it’s not the 10 o’clock news. In fact it signals a ball of fury and swirling hatred. “Nothing but Rage” lives up to its name but has that interesting offbeat quality that goes with this band. It also exploits that generic Polish talent for harshness. “Nothing but Rage” takes you by the throat and drags you on a frantic journey – great, original stuff. Now we’re plumbing the depths. “The Luring Lament” is dark and moody. It could be a film score but it would be a very dark film. A voice comes in. The drums respond, and “The Luring Lament” chugs forward thunderously. The withering scorn of “Divine Malediction” is commendable. The riff lines is merciless. The roaring vocals are clear enough to feel the contempt “I wanted you, I needed you”, he roars pitifully. There is subtlety in the haunting moan in the background. Everything points to disaster. The dingy “Here is Deeper Here is Higher” combines coldness with merciless black metal. Ghastliness comes from all angles, as it drives forward. Every track is a monster but at over 9 minutes “The Traveller” is more monstrous than most. Starting in a darkly epic way, it quickly draws us in to another musically rich adventure. The musicians are handing out punishment but this is a joy to listen to. The vocals are unconventional but in keeping with the terrifying world that is being portrayed. It ends with the sound of an industrial process. The echoing Behemoth like fog surrounds the furious and uncompromising “Curse Despise Reject Deny”, the final act of belligerence. The insane vocals are inserted into the violently controlled fury. The wrecking train continues on its relentless journey and terminates smoothly, proving as if it needed to be proved that this is a band who knows not only how to create atmosphere but also how to structure their musical ideas.

My only disappointment was that this album had to end. Misanthropic Rage impressively create dark atmospheres, adding layers and subtle touches to bring us this world of horror, contempt and suffering. The sound quality of this album is excellent and helps to bring out the majesty of this darkest of worlds. “Towards the Grayscale Aphorism” is a relentless driving force which is full of imagination.

(9/10 Andrew Doherty)