Review Summary: See them, hear them, face them, fear them.
2013 was plagued by new albums from a countless number of veteran death metal bands, and 2014 looks to be following in the same way. We're not even a quarter of the way into the year yet and already people are foaming at the mouth for new material from the likes of Autopsy, Morbus Chron, Aborted (who admittedly aren't as old as those first two aforementioned bands, but have certainly been around long enough) and Acheron. The latter of which, a band who have always been solely dependent upon the sort of demonic, hellish atmosphere choked with grinding death metal riffs for pretty much the entirety of their career, have just released a new album (and their first since going on a very brief hiatus in 2010) entitled Kult des Hasses
(German for “Cult of the Hated”).
For those who are expecting to hear a sound which can safely and surely be compared to Acheron's earlier material, Kult des Hasses
is practically perfect. Numerous songs are charged and possessed by twisted, vile riffs, chaotic yet sometimes melodic solos and that underlying atmosphere which, when seperated completely from the burgeoning instrumentation, could well be mistaken for the background noise of a Satanic ritual. From reading this, some may be screaming “GIMMICK!” from the very bottom of their sore throats, but make no mistake, Acheron are not the sort of band to rely on cheap tricks.
And it's really because of this well-respected attitude that Acheron more or less succeed with Kult des Hasses
, though it is by no means a perfect record. The opening song is unfortunately flawed, though can safely be overlooked thanks to the band's imaginative instrumentation. The fact that “Daemonum Lux” could easily be sped up and/or cut down to three or four minutes means that there's just too much mid-paced groove, and not enough explosive energy which makes songs such as the very powerful “Raptured to divine Perversion” that much more coherent. Perhaps the band wanted to invoke the doom and gloom of black metal's earliest traditions (Yes, the Mercyful Fate/Bathory/Hellhammer sort), but on this song in particular, it just doesn't work, and especially when other parts of the near eight minute length are considerably better in quality.
However, to put that aside, the majority of Kult des Hasses
is malevolent and despicable in all the right ways. Songs such as the ominous, demonic “Thy Father Suicide” and “Misanthropic Race” really dwell deep within Satanic realms, performing eccentric riff after riff, and made flawless with vile yet perfectly executed solos. The hellish vocal style of Vincent Crowley, which in reality doesn't have much of a range, is stunning when put to work with the rest of the band's respective instrumental talents. Take “Satan holds Dominion” for example, a song which eschews the sometimes mundane quality of its predecessor and is made maniacal by continuous chants of “SEE US/HEAR US/FACE US/FEAR US”. Then there's the twisted, echoed voices within “Whores and Harlots” and the dramatic closer “Devil's black Blood”, an aspect of the band's creative sound which seems to elevate Hell itself to the dark roots of the earth. There are even times when the band take it upon themselves to make quieter musical interludes, leading into magnificent musical compositions such as the outros in both "Raptured to divine Perversion" and "Misanthropic Race".
The album seems to lower in quality towards the end with an unfortunately incomplete “Asphyxiation (Hands of God)” and “Concubina do Diabo”, but thankfully there is so much more to sink your teeth into with Kult des Hasses
, rendering any flaws or mistakes simply unimportant. In a year which, like its predecessor, is to be remembered for classic albums by veteran groups of the extreme metal scene, Acheron sound like a reinvigorated band, and the album to support this is very promising indeed.