Syndrome of the End Approaching
posted on 8/2006 By:
What’s On Tap: Well produced, well played, meaty, vicious, genre bending U.S. black metal.
I really had no idea what the hell to expect when I randomly selected Syndrome of The End Approaching from our review queue. Based on the album cover and relatively bizarre band moniker, I thought maybe I’d signed up for a grind/crust act, which, as it turns out, holds the teensiest element of truth. Don’t get me wrong, E.N.T. this ain’t, but Syndrome of The End Approaching does indeed reveal moments of crust/grind and certainly showcases the project as yet another example of a U.S. black metal act unafraid of mixing decidedly non-black metal elements to the pot to help set them apart from many of their peers across the pond.
Following some serious digging, I discovered A.I.D.S. is actually a one-man project from Fort Wayne, Indiana’s Geoff Montgomery (aka Tophetarath), a man possibly better known for his labors within bands such as Hordes of The Lunar Eclipse (drums, bass, guitars and vocals), Nokturnel (drums), and the seemingly under-appreciated Fog (drums). In other words, this dude has devoted a lot of his time to extreme music, especially black metal, and he’s bringin’ his wares to the table for his solo project.
Syndrome of The End Approaching is a fucking caustic record, and actually quite fitting of the nefarious A.I.D.S. handle. Not to make light of the real condition, but this platter is absolutely ripe with disastrous, pestilential qualities, and nearly the only thing keeping this bugger from spreading like a pandemic in the underground black metal community is the fact it’s limited to a mere 300 bloody copies and only on the relatively unfashionable format of (gasp) vinyl. Well let me tell ya folks, this fucker was born to defile your trendy dj pal’s turntable, or that ol’ phono collecting dust in your uncle’s garage, so get fuckin’ cracking and shanghai that mofo, it'll be worth it.
Following the relatively misleading intro, second cut, “Mourning of Hadadrimmon”, absolutely collides into your face at 200mph, and gives us our first taste of the record's hybridization. Tophetarath’s burly, growled vocals mixed with the heavy, tractor-esque guitars and fevered, blackened drumming grinds like some strange brew of Beherit meets Swedish ‘core’ assaulters, Krigshot. Cut nine, “Command to Serve”, follows a similar formula, while the corrosive “Necrovore” waits until the last minute to slow the black metal attack and throw down a grinding, assaulting riff to close it out. Tophetarath is also unafraid of swirling in sludgy slabs of tar to his work, slowing things to a near crawl with lumbering, behemoth tracks such as “Noumenon Filter” and “Calling of Hounds”. And fear not, black metal stalwarts, Syndrome of The End Approaching has more than its fair share of straight-up black metal as well. “Hoc Est Enim Corpus Meum”, “Frykter”, “Œechgraaf Lampaenn”, and the disturbingly titled “Shit Stains Spread Onto The Pages of The Bible”, all travel a brutal, assailing black metal attack, but with a heavier, more grinding guitar tone than is seemingly typical of the genre today. The album closes out with a beautifully rendered cover of Sepultura’s classic, “Antichrist”, from their 1985 split EP, Bestial Devastation.
Fans of genre bending, heavy black metal will definitely be pleased with this one. A.I.D.S. is an excellent example of hybridized black metal done really well. The songs are carcinogenic, pestilent, brutal, and catchy as hell, and although it’s currently available only on vinyl, perhaps with enough interest someone will step up and spread this disease further by offering it on a more ‘accessible’ format. And in case you need further proof of this projects’ perniciousness, “Necrovore” is available for downloading directly from Serpens Caput
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