posted on 6/2011 By:
"The fourth angel poured his bowl on the sun, which then was allowed to burn people with fire." Revelations 16:8.
Though comprised of three members of Bloodshed, a more traditional Swedish death metal band with hints of black metal (whose 2002 disc Inhabitants of Dis was a solid, underrated release), Rev 16:8 is a more traditional sounding black metal band akin to Marduk or Dark Funeral, and they do their chosen style pretty well.
For many, that will be enough to warrant interest or to put Rev 16:8 in their ignore list. Personally, I’m pretty undecided. At times, I’m really in the mood for some razor-sharp tremolo-picked ferocity, and in those moments, Rev 16:8 most certainly fits the bill, alongside recent releases by like-minded acts like Setherial or Endstille. The riffs are either blistering and slightly melodic or a snarling vortex of hate ("Agenda", “Blacklined Sundown”, “Serenade”) littered with militant controlled marches (“The Chase”, parts of “Coal Mirror”, “Rust Retinal Vein””). Both are filled with the expected blackened rasps and equally effective at delivering sulphur-laden fury and stern mid-paced malevolence.
It’s all polished, seething and well done, but it's a bit generic and the tracks tend to bleed together, meaning the band doesn’t really stand out from the rather crowded pack. But that’s really not what this type of black metal is really about, is it? It’s about sinking your teeth into the genre-expected paradigm and delivering the standard sound convincingly, which Rev 16:8 certainly does. The only real exception is parts of the penultimate number “All Our Words are Obsolete”, which starts with a nice little, chunkier, thrashier death metal riff before careening into typical fare and a couple of interludes in “A Study In Habits” and “Leave Me." Both are standard atmospheric breaks in the vortex, but they won’t make Ashlands truly stand out.
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