Review Summary: Hell rhythmic, oriental, Oh really? Hell or heaven, oriental or occidental, who cares. This is just another great BM stuff, period!
If you are planning a trip to Thailand, bear in mind that Pattaya beach is one of great place you must visit. If you love tasting exotic and strange food, you definitely can get it there easily. Then, if you want a ..., oh wait, what's this? Hell God, this prologue sounds like I was a tourist guide. Damn! Okay, fellow metal maniacs! The most crucial thing in this read is, if you are black metal fans and want to add your collection on BM stuff, you should be glad, Thailand provides such extreme music for you too. One of the finest stuff that Thailand could offer is Oriental Hell Rhythmics
, 2001's debut release by Surrender of Divinity (SoD
). So, as said before, if you are in Thailand right now, you better catch this in local music store, and if you are not in that country, for your first time digging, google and friend definitely will answer your call.
Overall, Oriental Hell Rhythmics
is a slightly fitting album title due to SoD's incorporation with some Thai folk elements. Therefore, it arguably deserves labeled as "oriental". You can hear such element only if you dig it carefully, and using an earphone is a better way to seize the sound comprehensively. The album itself consists of only six tracks and clocks in at about 49 minutes of music. The production is typical low-fi black metal album; raw, harsh, and unpolished. The lyrical concept is wickedly evil, meanwhile, the sound is quite atmospheric, muddy, and primitive. Though opening track Conquerors of the Apocalypse
lasts for about 11 minutes, listening to it is a nice moment. You can feel same nice musical experience as what you usually could get in big-names such as Taake or Emperor. For the first spin, it would be hard to differentiate each song of it, however, sooner or later in the third spin (say that so) the listeners will realize that the album has an adequate varied composition. To undergo each riff, blast-beat and cool drums fill, or even unique emphasized vocals pattern, is a fine way in digging the album effectively.
While bass guitar is a bit inaudible, somewhat overshadowed, drums and guitars are clear enough. Those two instruments did not overpower each other - both are quite linear and proportional. The sharp, cold, and crisp guitar riffing finely balanced the fast, chaotic, and enormous double-bass of drums. Guitarist Whathayakorn got his job well done, so did drummer Paritat - his full of energy drumming contributed much in making their debut album surprisingly great. Sometimes, their high-pitched snare is little bit annoyed. However, such obtrusive characteristic is always tolerable and forgivable only because of how raw and low-fi an album is. Vocally, SoD have what people always consider as traditional BM style; high-pitched atmospheric shrieking, furious screaming, and a blended of raspy and snarl vocals delivery. In this spot, Avaejee's vocals nicely fitted the music. His style met with all of black metal vocals criteria. Anyway, Oriental Hell Rhythmics
noticeably has a weakness when it comes to guitar solos. This section is not only lack, but also not impressive, whereas, in such progressive tracks, they had a room for solo improvisation. But, this is not big deal, though, basically black metal does not need such a technical soloing. This section, when it was done, it's just for another important addition to song composition. That is more a plus factor rather than technical or structural frill. And do not forget, the important thing you can get from this album is their real good cold riffs in almost every track. Though they did not use keyboard, their guitar sound is more than enough to make their music atmospheric.
When Surrender of Divinity proclaimed themselves as black metal act, they meant it in the utmost sense. This debut release is their real proof. With a bit better effort in solo section, these guys should have a more kicked-ass and potential output. To know whether they progress well in their musical endeavor or not, the answer lies within their 2006's and upcoming releases. Their work is worthy to anticipate. Above all, this album is damn great. If you love somewhat low-fi black metal stuff, this, won't fail your taste!