Do you ever get bands that just remind you of a time? I mean I guess that’s nostalgia, but I’m talking bands that may not have had a great impact on you but were just there, lurking in the shadows. I often get that especially with Brutal Death Metal. My saturated knowledge of the genre allows me to get excited about the smallest bands from back in the late 00s releasing new records, sad I know. It was around that time though that I got really into music and started the journey that would lead me here today.
Speaking of bands to ponder about the subject for today is Blasphemer, the Italian Tech Brutal Death mainstays. They formed in 1998 but didn’t release any material until 2002’s Life Kills demo and no full length until 2008 with the underground gem that is On The Inexistence Of God a snapshot of late 00’s Brutal Death. This was followed in 2016 by Ritual Theophagy. Yet now the band shift to a new label, Candlelight Records for their third full length release The Sixth Hour, let’s hope this sees them take their career to the next level.
As the album opens with Let Him Be Crucified my anticipations are realised through swirling maniacal guitar work, pounding drums and guttural, yet old school Brutal Death vocals. This is truly a statement which reads ‘Blasphemer have returned!’. The Stumbling Block is anything but and keeps the old school Tech flare afloat, this is real undiluted Brutal Death that ticks all the right boxes. Again this is exhibited in Stabat Master which is an all-out Extreme Metal banger, indeed this is more than just good Brutal Death Metal this is something for those new to the genre also. I’m not all that enamoured by the bridging instrumental Blessed Are The Wombs That Never Bore but I can see why it has been placed as such and really the small break does help in the Brutal Death indoctrination of those new to the band and the genre.
One of the first tracks to pique my interest in the latter half of the album was The Robe Of Mockery, the pinch harmonics are a welcome addition and overall the track exudes old school Tech Death ideas that don’t feel tired. The remainder of the album pretty much holds fast to the previously mentioned connotations but is none the less entertaining and enjoyable. The titular track is perhaps one of the albums more aggressive numbers with its plodding riffs that almost Slam along with the barbarity of the rest of the bands output. The somewhat cleaner vocals are an interesting addition and one that elevate the album from an underground sound to something more accessible. It’s nice to see a title track get the deserved attention. De Profundis brings the album to a desolate closure and again plays with modernist themes that appear to bring Blasphemer anew.
The Sixth Hour is all about forward thinking Brutal Death Metal. There is nothing in this record that is out of place and indeed the additions that the band project only serve to bolster an already strong sound. Rather than simply being a crushing blow of barbarity the band prove that they are so much more and deserve recognition as such. It’s often said that a third album can make or break a band and whilst this release has been a long time coming since the bands inception I feel that it can only be the start of bigger and better things for Blasphemer.
(8/10 George Caley)