Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Class of 2012: Mutilation Rites - Empyrean

Self-described as "filthy" black metal, Brooklyn's Mutilation Rites tear through six songs in just over 35 minutes on Empyrean.  Don't expect any ambient or avant-garde interludes - this is not that kind of music.

"A Season of Grey Rain" is a near-perfect start with several impressive moments.  For example, go to 3:55 and listen to the rest of the track.  You'll hear a couple of such instances within a mere minute and a half.

Throughout Empyrean, George Paul's vocals are indecipherable, and from what I've read, that's how he wants it to be.  Nonetheless, topics and themes include vices, depression, and substance abuse.

Beginning at a break-neck speed, "Ancient Bloodoath" features solid but never flashy guitar work.  The band then slows things down considerably for the track's final two minutes.  While the rest of the album is also fast-paced, the twists and turns of each song keep things interesting.

"Fogwarning" has a very classic black metal intro that is then followed by stampede-like drumming.  From start to finish, the drumming on this record is superb.

Final track "Broken Axis" is about four minutes of black metal and then becomes doomy for the final two and a half minutes.  "Ancient Bloodoath" finished in a similar fashion, too.

With elements of doom as well as thrash, Empyrean is a breath of fresh yet pungent air for American black metal.  I'm looking forward to hearing what Mutilation Rites has to offer next time around.

Grade: B  (86.7%)

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