Trumpet Of Triumph
Taking the over-the-top necro cover art into consideration, it’s easy to peg this for a mindlessly kvlt exercise in pointless sacrilege, but surprisingly Godless Rising is quite the mighty wielder of melody on this, their third full-length album. Although the underlying theme is about as anti-Christian as you can possibly get, virtuoso guitarist Toby Knapp (Waxen/Onward/Darken) and vocalist Jeff Gruslin (Vital Remains) use the music itself as a spearhead that takes vintage Slayer, Rigor Mortis and Possessed and mixes it with liberal doses of Incantation and maybe Arghoslent, along with a little Gorgoroth, resulting in eleven rather lively but highly malicious blackened death metal sledgehammer tunes that make for great go-to listening.
Once in a while, I hear a death metal album that makes me laugh; it’s the kind of laugh I make at unexpected cartoon decapitations, out-of-nowhere mother insults, or watching a kid crack his head on the edge of a table without getting seriously injured. Some of you know that kind of guilty pleasure; it’s what makes an album like Trumpet Of Triumph such a damn joy to behold because it takes all the cliché of God-hating blasphemy and digs in with some legitimately formidable musical chops amongst all that fire and brimstone. It’s some evil shit, but Godless Rising makes sure they back it up where it counts by bringing a high level of musicality to this ugly blackened ritual.
There’s a lot of very cool start/stop riffs that sound quite heavy when placed in the context of a more black metal vibe such as “We Are Legion” or the vicious “Christ Cadaver”, and opener “Where Is Your God” comes out of the gate with all the soothing grace of blowtorch against your forehead. “Ungodly Incantations” (no irony spared here, I imagine) doesn’t even try to ease into a more melodic mode, instead jumping right into some rather nutty fretboard antics that almost make you forget just how evil this shit is supposed to be, and the overall upbeat vibe of tracks like “Damnation Of Angelic Souls” is almost too sparkly. “An Eternity In Hell” transitions from a quick melodic outburst into a galloping maelstrom in no time flat and never eases up on the gas, but then they go for a totally traditional early melodic speed metal feel on “Through The Flames Of Rage” that effortlessly takes Manilla Road riffs and infuses them with trace blackened enhancements, which was a nice way to switch things up.
It’s a little hokey at times, like interlude “Dante’s Inferno (Burn The Flock),” which is morbidly comical, and some of the vocals sound more like Golem than anything else, but if you can get past the imagery -- and especially if you’re into highly melodic hybrid styles of demonically driven black/thrash/death metal -- there’s a lot going on here that will keep your ears buzzing for a while. Good to the last bloody drop.