Review Summary: A worthy contender.
As a whole, the fervor of faith-driven bands is gradually fading. Major Christian record labels are resigning to the trends of modern metal, and Christian bands seem to be slowly compromising their message of hope for something darker. The market for despair never fails. As a result, conviction has been too often pushed to the margins to accommodate invocations of demons and portraits of misery. Authentic faith is rarely expressed.
Perhaps I am straying too far into controversy here.
In any case, with very few genuinely innovative bands, the landscape of Christian metal has become bare. A comfortable scene has developed. The shrill voices of complacence. With the spotlight on Demon Hunter and August Burns Red, there is scarcely room for others to emerge.
A Hill to Die Upon provide a fresh experience that is based both upon solid musicianship and belief. Despite the initial melodrama of the album's title, Infinite Titanic Immortal
, is an uncompromising and truly powerful effort by a largely overlooked death metal band. Instead of offering a rewrite of Becoming the Archetype's Terminate Damnation
, however, A Hill to Die Upon takes their debut in a different direction.
At first listen, their black metal influence is quite overt. It comfortably hangs between the occasional breakdown and death metal riffing, giving the entire album a unique atmosphere. Admirably, however, they resist the temptation to assimilate into a reluctant disciple of Behemoth. Through their variation of vocal delivery and electric guitar, the A Hill to Die Upon retains their identity.
Each track is articulate and satisfying. Infinite Titanic Immortal sounds massive – monumental. With "Prometheus Rebound," the band establishes their consistent tone and speed. The vocals are collected, authoritative, and possess a satisfying gurgle that should woo faithful metalheads.
Lyrically, their spiritual conviction is delightfully apparent. Rightfully, nothing is compromised in this process. The strength of the record is never lessened by the subject matter. Certain passages feel solemn and “brutal.”
Chaos, satyr, servant of stymphalian rage
And that hideous truth that saileth from beyond
Io, lycanthropy! Bare thy claws and fangs
Time shall ever call they name
Others are edifying:
Please lift this curse from my head
Please life this curse from my head
Just let me wash my hands of this
Unfortunately, the pacing of the album can become noticeably stale with extended listens. Most songs rarely stray from a uniform speed, with the exception of the instrumental "The Dark Road." Each song is consistent in tone, message and atmosphere, but the danger of this consistency is that it reaps tedium.
A Hill to Die Upon is still a worthy member of the genre. This is a remarkably strong debut for such an overlooked group. Infinite Titanic Immortal
stands as a portent of growth in an increasingly spoiled style.