Tragedy can have a lot of different effects on people, and everyone reacts to it in a different way. It’s something that could break you down and erode your strength, leaving you a shell of yourself. Or it can make you stronger emotionally and psychologically as you try to carry on and drag yourself to the top of the heap again.
Polish black metal power Blaze of Perdition have seen their share of challenges over their time together, but nothing compares to what befell the band in 2013. While traveling on tour in Austria, a road accident took the life of bassist Ikaroz, and the other members—vocalist S and drummer Vizun (XCIII also is a member, on guitars)—were left severely injured, themselves on the brink of demise. No one would have blinked an eye had they decided they’d had enough. It’s very similar to what happened to Baroness, and like that band, Blaze of Perdition decided their fires still raged, and they were hellbent to prove that. They did so on 2015’s “Near Death Revelations” and they continue that intensity on their new full-length “Conscious Darkness,” a four-track, 43-minute record that challenges you mind, body, and spirit. The shortest track here still is 7:58 long, so you can imagine what awaits you on the other three cuts that delve into death and its black hands, a force with which the band is all too familiar.
“A Glimpse of God” opens with a line speaking about getting to understand what god even is before the song opens up into boiling black metal and wild shrieks from S. Gruff singing snakes its way in, as the song goes back and forth from gruff to eerie, and it starts to feel like you’re being lured into the void. “Sacrifice is suffering!” S wails, as the anguish spills, and the song manages to get even uglier. Whispered growls and pained noise break through, while S writhes in torment as the trudging terror fades. “Ashes Remain” is the longest cut, spilling over 14:48 and starting with a violent blast. “Nothing survives the flame, the fire!” S howls, as melody and nastiness combine, and the storming assault begins to threaten the horizon. The band then settles into a filthy death groove as sickening wails get into your guts, the singing takes on a Tom Warrior morbidity, and the track rushes to the gates.
“Weight of the Shadow” is the aforementioned “short” song, beginning with the music surging, rough growls blackening eyes, and the band slashing away dramatically. The vocals crush while the pace tramples, and then the assault begins to penetrate your organs. Cold guitars pelt the ground with ice, while the track spirals into desolate space. “Detachment Brings Serenity” ends the record with a volcanic charge, as frosty melodies bring a wintry feel, but then we’re right into the heart of a relentless fire, as the growls rumble and a hazy melody covers everything with fog. Chaos stretches into the atmosphere, feeling cleansing and true, while the song tears into your heart and numbs your bones. Shadowy singing gives the song a proper New Wave feel, while the final minutes draw blood and eventually moan away.
Blaze of Perdition have come a long way since they nearly were ripped from existence, and “Conscious Darkness” is a harrowing, dark tunnel that swallows you and drags you through its sickening twists and turns. This is challenging black metal that pushes the limits of the genre and makes the listener stare down something uncomfortable. It’s coming for us all, death, and music like this only can serve to ease our path in nothingness.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/blazeofperdition
To buy the album, go here: https://www.agoniarecords.com/index.php?lang=EN&pos=shop
For more on the label, go here: http://agoniarecords.com/