posted on 10/2009 By:
Sanctification shares members past and present with Dark Funeral, and despite that they play a totally different style of metal, they share some similarities with their better-known blackened brethren. Like Funeral, Sanctification is an energetic, tight, polished, competent, enjoyable band that lurks in the shadows of better, more innovative bands, seemingly content to wear their influences on their sleeves at the same time as they simply kick some ass and move along. As mentioned, unlike Dark Funeral (and like God Among Insects and Aeon, with whom they’ve also shared members), Sanctification trade in death metal, herein a more immediately accessible version of the Nile/Hate Eternal greater-heaviness-through-greater-density variety.
What Sanctification does unequivocably right is that they write some pretty ripping riffs to go atop their blast-happy rhythms. Yeah, they’re in the shadows of Nile at times, sans Egyptological slant, but these riffs are simpler, generally catchy as hell and deceptively well-crafted in those two qualities. (Check the intro to the title track or the tremolo post-chorus riff in “Eternal” for examples of uncomplicated but effective guitar lines.) What Sanctification also does right, again like Nile, is create a palpable atmosphere in the wall of sound, a practice contrasted against, say, the exhausting and head-pounding sonics of the last Hate Eternal disc. Nils Fjellstrom’s drumming is hellacious, but it never interferes with the guitar-work that remains the album’s instrumental strong point. The production is dense, although again not as dense as quite a few others, and that’s because the tones are hefty without being overly thick or unduly oppressive—these songs can breathe, can move, are neither suffocating nor suffocated even as they’re pounding relentlessly.
Black Reign isn’t the best death metal record of 2009, but it’s a fine record, for sure, impressive enough and better than many of its peers. It’s worthy of attention by even most moderately die-hard and dedicated of deathsters.
I’ll take this over Dark Funeral any day.
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