Not being familiar with this lot from Australia other than knowing they have put out a few albums, I was kind of expecting some rabid bestial filth somehow. What I got however whilst no less aggressive was…more focussed. The album contains five lengthy tracks, or acts, and after an ominous intro they really just rip into it.
There’s a raging chaos here, a wall of noise that occasionally dips and bends into passages that might be described as melodic if you’re a fan of a more direct version of something like Deathspell Omega or even Blut Aus Nord. There’s just a flirtation with death metal here, a hint of technical but just as easily passages can raise their heads for a breath before ploughing heads down into some prime blackthrash that would suit fans of Impiety or earlier Destroyer 666. The vocals just rage and spit, howling into the noise with real anger and disgust.
What’s even better here though is that what begins as an utterly brutal battering slowly through the acts, reveals a complexity and variation that genuinely enthrals. They don’t overdo it, but by ‘Act III: Castigation’ the atmosphere is coming thick and slow. It broods and slithers towards you, malevolence seeping from it. There’s a sense of discordancy here, the kind of modern black metal edge teetering on experimental that a couple of the aforementioned bands indulge in. But Wardaemonic’s slightly more direct but still nimble and thoughtful approach works so well here; the end of Act III may drift a little for me but ‘Act IV: Sufferance’ brings in some clean vocals and some dancing lead breaks and blasting worthy of Akercocke.
I mean they have been going fifteen years so you do expect maturity but even so there is no denying this is a truly deep and talented show. It has an imperious quality and a sense of melody that neither swamps the aggression nor leaves you wanting a break from the intensity. The arrangements and passages are fascinating, adventurous but strangely accessible too, which is a rare trick to pull off.
Fancy some aggressive, virulent but keenly sharp black metal then look no further. I’m off to explore their back catalogue.