For today’s dose of atmospheric black metal, we move to Austria. My first impression when picking up this album was of the selection of grandiose titles. And I was pleased when “The Golden Key to a Pandemonium Kingdom” lived up to its pompous name. It is eight and a half minutes of solid heavy epic black metal with a touch of the symphonic and spoken parts without sounding contrived. Its sequel “Journey of the Defleshed Paradise” starts ominously. Maybe not as dynamic as “The Golden Key to a Pandemonium Kingdom”, it still has a lingering deathly air. It seems that with this band instruments are used as sources of atmosphere rather than punishment. The growls are powerful and match those meaty instrumentals very well.

Thoughts inevitably turn to “who do they sound like?”, and the answer to that lies in different directions, to the band’s credit. It’s interesting that they themselves acknowledge Paradise Lost and the Canadian masters of dark metal structures, Necronomicon. I also felt a tinge of Hypocrisy and a number of Scandinavian extreme metal bands from around the early 2000s. What matters is that this is rip-roaring atmospheric stuff, none more so than the blood-curdling “The Undisclosed Universe of Atrocities”. The Negative Bias know how to whip up the darkest of clouds, and draw out every drop of pungent atmosphere while adding momentary melancholy. It’s never monolithic but sways between sorrow and the sinister cosmic tones, which mark the start of “Cryptic Echoes from Beyond Dimensions”. The cries of suffering are not unexpected. The spoken word and funeral chorus add to the grim foreboding. “And Darkness Should Be the End of Cosmic Faith” takes us back to The Negative Bias’s reality. More chanted words but what is most striking is the oblique and grey guitar line, which with the rising heaviness around it, signal a world of chaos. The track moves into darkly epic territory before fading away.

“Lamentation of The Chaos Omega” is a very accomplished album. It is clear that a lot of intelligent thought has gone into building its dark concepts and structures.

(8.5/10 Andrew Doherty)