Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pantheon of Blood - Tetrasomia [2013]

Finland may not be the most prolific metal country out there - it never was - but that's not to say that the northerners are alien to metal's exhumations and characteristics - this is the country where quality, original music comes in good numbers, in as many genres as you can think, in presentations both primal and modern, despite not sprouting bountifully. Purveyors of mourn and morbid carnality lie in abundance, and that includes the young Pantheon of Blood who have been pervading innocent souls with abysmal black metal since their successful 2011 EP. ''Tetrasomia'' is a definite step forward from the utterly primordial aesthetics of its retracting predecessor, but it does not deviate from its accursed roots too much as to seethe through the listener's mind with the same sense of overwhelming fear and emotional catharsis, installing itself as arguably the biggest highlight of their concise discography.

For one, ''Tetrasomia'' has a fucking fantastic cover. Unlike ''Consociatio Solis et Lunae'', which exhibited, rather poorly, the ethereal reflection of its musical tendencies through a puerile, sexual, and, admittedly, rather amateurish cover art, ''Tetrasomia'' has a brilliant artwork that more or less packs the EP's compartmentalized tenets in a single, gorgeously dark depiction; and while the maxim ''don't judge a book by its cover'' is one that I embrace quite frequently, I can say without hesitation that in this case, the augmented quality of the cover equals quality in content. There is a steady, circuit-like formula that the band revolves around, but aside from a foundation that gathers power from early Rotting Christ, or some of Pantheon of Blood's countrymen like Charnel Winds among others, each track is composed of its own distinct and veritable desires that are narrated by a doleful, eerie choir of guitars and crisp drum patterns. I absolutely love the band's melodic sensibility here: they feel so reminiscent of Rotting Christ's first two discs that they lovingly embrace a psychedelic fountain from which they spew forth a cathartic range of emotions, fluctuating like a multi-faceted current of emotional bliss. The iridescent quality of the drilling tremolos are so colorful that they imbue the listener with a wealth of moody rainbows and veneers, sadness incarnate.

The vocals are sneering and corpulent, but the real wonder that they provide is to draw a distinction between the rich, otherwordly guitar pieces and the frosty twang of its own inflection, simply polarizing the record and enlarging the contrast level to a greater length. ''Thunder Alchemy'', for instance, explodes with utterly woeful diatribes both in the guitar and vocal department, and at about halfway into the song the vocals generate a sort of doomed growl, as if the vocalist found himself to be a victim of premature burial, pleading for help inside his coffin while a crowd of spirits sing a hymn for the dead. You may as well say that the Finnish are at the top of their in the utilization of every single instrument. Besides the harrowing vortex of melodic riffs, the guitars implement clean pieces into the mix, which only deepens the prevalent misery. The drums are consistent though not warlike, as the guitars themselves stay attached to slower, doom-oriented riffing, with occasional outbursts of further emotion. Interestingly enough, the production is hardly dilapidated, while the vocals certainly belong to a wilder, rawer cavern of sorrow.

It's true that even with the creative atrocities the guitars fabricate, they have the potential to burgeon and evolve into so much more. I was not malcontent with any of the stuff I heard here, I actually fell in love with a few rare passages, and Pantheon of Blood did channel older, archaic black metal at times in the Norwegian tradition, evoking the purist in me, but a slight amount of distinction would still have been nice. Emotional conflagration, though, is an art that they've long savvied, and with ''Tetrasomia'', they are nearly perfect. The howls of the vocals are excellent, but the guitars don't seem to always be on par with them. ''I.N.R.I'' is definitely an exception, with the primal pangs of the guitar riffs perfectly swaying in accordance to the vocals, especially in the masterful chorus section. A lessened production value would also suit their style better, but it is up to them to hone their style with whatever adornments they choose to use on the full-length. But in anyway, ''Tetrasomia'' is more than worth your time.

Thunder Alchemy

Rating: 83%

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