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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Aphrenous - Ravaged By The Incessant Scourge of Deception (2011)

Band: Aphrenous
Country: USA
Style: Experimental/Atmospheric Black Metal
Label: Independent

I've been looking forward to writing a review for this album for a while. Friends of mine have really hyped this thing up and it got me excited to hear it before I eventually did. I haven't even had this album for all that long, but I've been looking forward to writing this since the first listen.
I'm pretty much a fanboy for Blut Aus Nord, along with some other bands/artists too, so when I saw that these guys were getting compared to, and cited, Blut Aus Nord as an influence, I was all over this. I'm sure a lot of hardcore fans, who are more hardcore and kvlt than I certainly am, will claim that there's nothing between the two, but this three track album certainly demonstrates a love for the Frenchmen. Though certainly not as abstract as BAN's more recent output, this album certainly brings an atmosphere similar to that of BAN's earlier material.
Beyond my obvious love for, and now monotonous comparison to BAN, these guys do create a sound that is quite different. Songs on here are a lot more expansive in atmospheres than a lot of other bands, especially those categorized with atmospheric black metal. The use of haunting atmospheres both during the more aggressive black metal sections and during the more ambient based parts really makes a track like the twenty-three minute Weight of A Thousand Hands sound more expansive than most black metal bands. The blending of ambient and black metal is very fluid, it's not like there's black metal, and then there's ambiance behind it, or monotonous black metal riffs that act as ambient music; it's the melding of the two together, the atmosphere on here is always dark, but the scope, I found, to be wide enough to allow moments where there was pure black metal or moments of pure ambiance, as well as the two obviously at the same time. The pure dark ambient track, Echoes of Deception, really shows that there is talent in here to create pure atmosphere music as well as blistering black metal.
While this was definitely different than I expected it to be upon first listening to it, I am still very happy with the result. There's definitely a lot of good stuff on here and I can see why it took two years to complete this. Definitely check this out if you like atmospheric black metal of any variety.
Overall Score: 8
Highlights: Weight of A Thousand Hands

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