posted on 10/2009 By:
There’s just something indescribably appealing about a band that makes metal clean of artifice, and Weapon are about as sincere a band as has ever been amassed. Treating their moniker as a functional directive, this Canadian crush sets to injure, defeat, and destroy, inculcating with blackest candor all who would entertain the Drakonian Paradigm.
There isn’t an element out of place on this overture to first wave black affectation. Sure, somebody’s going to whine that the production is archaic, but that guy betrays his discomfort with the primal nastiness that parses the invested listener from the casual observer obsessed with overbuffed baubles. And that it’s raw doesn’t mean this album is a mess, only that it sounds as if it were recorded in the garage, in one shot, and produced by somebody who is very good at producing garage-recorded records. The resultant sound is Venom in its sonic acrimony and Bathory in its feral majesty and Dissection in its austere adulation of Appollyon. Put another way, it’s nasty ass old school Satan-worshipping black metal constructed intelligently around founder Vetis Monarch’s love affair with majestic melody and rapier-point solos.
This indoctrination commences with an audacious eponymous instrumental that quarries every sense, coercing the listener into fully receptive repose before loosing the full-bore “Cacophony! Black Sun Dragon's Tongue,” with which …Paradigm’s dark elder makes his first vocal appearance. Monarch doesn’t even know you’re there, so intimate is his lyrical delivery, every word spoken much less than invoked with eyes rolled comfortably into pitch black communion with the Dark Prince. You’ll swear he’s lit the unholy fire right there in your head as he bellows reverent chants in one ear, then the other.
A monarch is only as strong as his minions, of course, and these heed His call with unbending allegiance. The strength and tenacity of the rhythm section is evident from note one, and while it never manages to overpower, neither does it underwhelm, folding ferocity into every riff and elegantly tempering the flow with the occasional acoustic or keyed interlude in service of the greater goal. You will catch them winking blithely once in a while, maybe even having fun, as in the infectious galloping riff fest just before the break, a third of the way through “Mortem Pyre.” In all though, this is a dark procession, and so too are the accoutrements. The keys in “Archana,” as pleasant as they are, course always in blackness beneath the heavy rancor of the metal. When the mood shifts sufficiently to support a quieter moment, melodic tangents are nonetheless drawn in Cimmerian shade, as in the Dornenreichian whisper and strum that splits the title track.
The final track, “Remnants of a Burnt Mosque,” effectively coalesces the preceding elements into a mid-tempo exemplar of ritual and ceremony. Heavy, warm and evocative, this is the song that finally obliterates your will to resist and lays you gently atop the altar, warm and placid as you await transcendence.
There may be a tendency to pigeon-hole black metal bands these days, especially those that fly banners of battles past, but where ingenuity is often given hallowed status, occasionally it is Honor that carries the day. Weapon’s debut LP isn’t perfect. It isn’t innovative. Hell, it isn’t even purely original. It is black metal bona fide. And it beckons thee.
Give thine self up to the Drakonian Paradigm.
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