I’ve always had a substantial amount of respect for Sweden’s enveloping black metal scene, even though I’ve never quite been into many bands besides Marduk. It’s a queer thing, because Sweden is usually known for housing scores of depraved death metal bands—bands which especially dislike the Norwegian black metal scene that started to get big in the 90’s, and now, a whole new dose of fresh Swedish black metal hits me right in the face with pummelling grooves, sublime savagery and a love for chaos. Hellthrasher Productions is not the first label that would come to mind when you say black metal, especially because almost all of their releases are pure, old school drenched death metal, but somehow, a bile spurting black metal group called Flagellated Seraph found their way into the label’s door. Yes, it’s black metal, with strong death metal overtones, Flagellated Seraph forge a blade sharp enough to cut through even the strictest of death metal fans, and one blade that can definitely call a number of black metal blasphemers to the banners.
‘’Beyond Salvation’’, the debut full-length by these Swedish extremists, is rather enjoyable listen, mainly because its level of accessibility is high and the music itself is more primal and demented rather than raw, excluding raw, gritty black metal aspects and replacing them with more voluptuous elements in order to add a subtle hint of melody, vivacity and tinge of tremolo driven rambunctious pulchritude. ‘’Beyond Salvation’’ is certainly not as teeth gritting as you’d expect it to be, but atmosphere is an attribute that’s hugely embraced throughout. The majority of the riffs slow stridently with immense intensity, showing hints of right hand guitar prowess, and rather positive aura dominates the atmosphere. It’s a combination of primitive black metal barbarity and the late coming atmospheric Norwegian black wave, grouping together elements of both, with a propulsive touch of thrash metal crust. Its accessibility is a tremendous element to throw in, spraying light upon each and every riff, yet the textures and guitar tones are gritty, cantankerous and laden with serrated sharp teeth.
There is a sort of negative part of the coin, though, one that may cut the entertainment short for many. The album consists of six songs, and with two of them being a depressive, drudgy laments, there’s only thirty minutes of energy driven black metal viscera left for us to enjoy. Nonetheless, it’s still not the shortest metal album in history, so you’d better learn to enjoy it. Each song is rather extensive, but still exceedingly fluent all the way, and each riff is a reasonable follow up to its predecessor, continuing in the same diverse vein with only some nuances hinted here and there. The verse and intro sections of all the songs are a rough mish mash of black metal fury and musty death metal, but the chorus sections rise to the climax of the atmosphere all the same. The vocals are the perfect harsh rasps you need in your black metal, guttural, and sometimes even buried deep within the plethora of crunchy riffs despite their sharp shrillness.
I think it’s safe to say that Flagellated Seraph haven’t produced anything innovative here, but the music is an absolutely terrific mixture of engrossing death metal textures and atmospheric black metal aspects, chaotic, rough and dynamic. ‘’Beyond Salvation’’ puts many black metal releases behind itself thanks to its refreshing features, and it’s just another bonus point for Hellthrasher. I am pierced, shattered and mourning at the same time.
He Who Bears The Mark
Redeemer Of Nothingness