The Royal Arch Blaspheme
posted on 11/2012 By:
Second-tier USBM “supergroup” The Royal Arch Blaspheme made literally no waves with their 2010 debut, so naturally the laws of heightened self-importance required them to grace us with a second album here in 2012. Consisting of Krieg vocalist N. Imperial and Profanatica guitarist John Gelso on every instrument, II sounds exactly like you’d expect, if you’d heard the other acts of those who wrote it. This is raw, filthy, garbage-can black metal that gives exactly zero shits if you enjoy it, which is good, because the chances of that happening are slim to jack-fucking-squat. The Royal Arch Blaspheme crafts a suitably nasty sound, with the bass and guitar rumbles giving some particularly thickness, but they rarely put this to use in the form of a good song (or even good song section). Put simply, II is uneventful, uninteresting, and generally just kinda un.
The problem with this album isn’t that The Royal Arch Blaspheme shows no ability – in the few cases where they get things right there’s a lot to like – it’s that they spend about 35 of these 42 minutes stuck in mid-paced, half-blasting, plain riff mode. It’s as if the entire band has to come together to sound like some devilish metronome. (Most of the drumming could be played by that little monkey-with-a-snare-drum toy… seriously.) There is occasionally some big hit where chords are held out and drums make an impact (tortured, stretched passages in closer “Broken Word of God”), or a part where a quality tremolo harmony takes over (finale of “Ashes of the Holy Ghost”) but most of the time I found myself wanting to yell “DO SOMETHING INTERESTING” at my speakers. Yes, there is virtue in simplicity, but even simplicity has to be comprised of parts that are worth at least half of one shit, and here it’s a challenge trying to tell one passage apart from another, let alone separating these songs in one’s mind.
The only track that gets it right all the way through is “Resurection of Depravity” (the band’s spelling error, not mine). A mostly doomy affair, it moves from big, gross groove to hypnotic black metal to a coda that adds a really nice tremolo pattern to the original big, gross groove. This song working as a whole shows exactly how wrong The Royal Arch Blaspheme is going about things. They might want to write minimal, disgusting black metal like Gelso plays in Profanatica, but they’re as inept at the style as that act. A full album of the groovy black-doom might actually be something to really enjoy, but unfortunately that’s not what we have here.
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