posted on 8/2011 By:
With all these genres being bent and twisted to the point where they become unrecognizable in some instances, it’s nice to have a band around like Cruxifiction, despite their rather unfortunate moniker. What stands out about this band is the fact that their completely no-frills approach to black metal is quite different than the majority of their French counterparts. There’s no mind-melting dissonance to absorb, and no otherworldly ambiance that makes you question just exactly what you’re listening to in some sections. This is as far removed from Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord as you can get, and I gotta tell you, The Coming is a good break from the usual French insanity.
While they’re all decked-out in their Sunday worst, complete with corpsepaint, leather, studs and spikes, their appearance is not indicative of the music they play. If you had no idea what the band looked like, you’d probably pass it off as an American or British thrash band who listens to a little too much black metal, because that’s exactly what I did. Technical while lacking in significant wank, these broadly-arranged seven tracks thrash and burn with savage grace, and a surprising amount of refinement. That’s not to say they’re not doing their best to skin you alive, because there is an incessant aggression present that relies on the strength of the riff, and not the pounding of the snare. Upon the first listen, it’s almost glaring how judiciously they incorporate blastbeats throughout, similar to Germany’s excellent Infestus in that the raging tempos are highlights rather than backbones for their compositions. It’s risky, but The Coming is quite solid while also retaining fluidity, at times resembling Vreid’s Milorg or recent Keep Of Kalessin without the newfound pomp of the latter.
The Coming isn’t especially heavy is tone or content, and remains streamlined for the majority of the time, but definitely isn’t bound to black metal failsafe mechanisms. Lead-off tune “Haunting Hypocrisy” displays Cruxifiction’s knack for slower, chunkier tempos during its grooving thrash midsection, and “The New Messiah” starts out with a tight, thrashy mid-paced riff leading into very well-placed bolts of blasts that help to give the track a bit of extra firepower to work with. All this is fine, but as the album progresses and with each following listen, it gets a little harder and harder to stay focused on what they’re playing. Lead vocalist Sapian also sticks to a singular note scream with very little by way of tonal change or lyric phrase. “Death Is The Only Way” presents guitarist Saroth in a more visible vocal way, dropping down closely into a death metal range, and surprisingly, the track is elevated by an unannounced twin harmony lead the likes of which you rarely hear in black metal, once again showing their obvious thrash base of operations. It’s not perfect, and is a fair stretch from expertly formed songwriting proficiency, but at least it sounds authentic.
Some areas are stronger than others. There came a time when I actually craved a bit of feral intensity, or a smidge more chaos, but it was not to be. The mid-paced sections wear in parts, and even though there are a ton of riffs to be heard, their varieties are somewhat limited to a few kinds of whirring tremolo and thrash grooves. This isn’t necessarily an example of low quality, but more of a very single-minded focus which might lean too far in one direction without enough variation to set the individual tracks apart in a meaningful way. It’s more about the parts than the sum, but when considering that this is their debut album after having been together for four years, I would think there is much room to grow and expand, or even just to perfect their art as it currently stands into an even sharper weapon. The Coming is entertaining enough to keep the background busy and lively, but as a main-event attraction act, there is a little left to be desired as far as total captivation and the keeping of interest. In about two more albums, we might have a serious heavyweight on our hands, so it’s good to know the well of solid acts will never run dry in the land of fine cuisine, wine, and musical Hell.
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