posted on 2/2010 By:
Acrimonious are one of those bands that every fan of their style should check out, yet few will really keep coming back to. This has nothing to do with the quality of this Greek project’s output—which is comfortably above the norm in this case—but for the simple fact that most metalheads have heard a ton of this kind of stuff before, and only hardcore genre nerds will find something to really latch onto here. It's kind of a shame, because if albums like Purulence had surfaced before the style had become so over saturated, they’d be just as worthy of attention as many of the bands who got there first.
Since there’s little in the minimalist cover art to tip you off, Acrimonious plays fairly traditional black metal with a slight death/thrash underpinning to some of the riffs and vocals. As I said, this kind of thing has been done plenty of times, but lone member C.L manages to impressively carve out a little niche sound of his own thanks to the interesting tone to many of the riffs themselves, as well as the unpredictable structuring of the songs. Lengthy opener “Call To Disorder” begins slow and low-key before bursting into blasting mayhem, with a healthy smattering of meaty riffs delivered with a blackened snarl. Follow-up “Dissolving Spirals” features some meticulously crafted bass/guitar interplay (a strength of the whole album actually) in its spiraling mid-section riff that almost sounds like something Deathspell Omega would play, albeit less complex. “Spirit’s Eclipse” features a, dare I say it, “pleasant” refrain that repeats throughout the track, bringing a welcome dose of melody to what is a fairly hook-free affair. “Angel Withdrawn” and “At the Portals of Daat’” both highlight some ear-catching passages of tremolo-picked wickedness that could freeze the blood, while the serpentine title track takes things back to a slower, more ominous direction. Closing the record is the epic “Star Within A Star,” which puts the lid on things with an aggressive rendition of all the varying elements of the preceding tracks.
There’s plenty of black metal out there to satisfy those who prefer more progressive iterations of the genre, but there’s also something to be said for bands like Acrimonious that can really nail the traditional black metal sound without making it feel tired or forced. Purulence compensates for its rather basic framework with rock-solid songwriting, tight musicianship, and more rock-solid songwriting, and stands alongside Orcustus’s recent debut as one of the better examples of this style of black metal in recent years.
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