Review Summary: It's nothing groundbreaking, but Sacraments of Descension serves as a nice continuation of Gene Palubicki's trademark blackened death metal sound.
When it comes to blackened death metal, Angelcorpse usually aren't too far behind Behemoth in terms of popularity and notoriety. It makes sense too; their discography was incredibly consistent and reliable, with not a bad album in the bunch. Thick riffs, hard hitting drumming, and a clear-yet-cavernous production were the hallmarks of their work, most notably their figurehead Gene Palubicki. The guitarist and vocalist applied his trademark sound with Angelcorpse to a number of other projects he was involved with, but Perdition Temple seems to be the most promising of these groups. And if Sacraments of Descension
is anything to go by, then it seems as though I've been missing out on some strong death metal albums released under the Palubicki banner.
What you get with this album is pretty much what you'd expect from an Angelcorpse album: relentless riffing, intricately written guitar leads, and black metal-inspired tremelo picking. It's predictable yet incredibly satisfying, and every song packs a familiar yet impactful punch. The production is such that you can hear every little note being played while still respecting a certain degree of rawness; this is especially evident in the blastbeat portions, which raise the intensity while letting you marvel at the technical abilities of the musicians. Riff-wise, there's a lot of Morbid Angel and Demilich influence on display, most notably Covenant-era Morbid Angel. And while the album lacks in the variety department, it's also a short affair and doesn't wear out its welcome over time. However, there are a few songs I'd like to highlight as particular standouts: "Eternal Mountain" and "Antichrist." The former is defined by its more progressive nature, boasting several off-time and off-kilter riffs (lots of 7/4-time in particular) separated by the band's usual brand of intensity. The latter is probably my favorite instance of atmosphere on the record, slowing down midway to feature some echo-laden growls that remind one of the hellish vibe featured in Immolation's landmark record Close to a World Below
Sacraments of Descension
isn't anything groundbreaking by any means, and the songs do tend to blend together after a while. However, if you're in the mood for a death metal record that's ceaselessly aggressive and never lets up, you could do much worse than this. I haven't followed Gene Palubicki's work too closely since the Angelcorpse days, but maybe it's time that I started playing catch-up.