Norwegian black metallers Crest Of Darkness has been setting impressive standards within European extreme metal and blackening the hearts of fans for eighteen years now and through six releases. They return with their seventh album in the insidious form of In The Presence Of Death, a record which gnaws and poisons the senses for one fully rewarding confrontation.
Formed by vocalist/bassist Ingar Amlien in the mid-nineties, Crest Of Darkness has explored and expelled sonic brutality and vicious lyrical blood-letting mythology and Satanism which has earned the band a formidable and acclaimed reputation. Completed by Rebo (guitar/keyboards) and Kjetil Hektoen (drums), with additional contributions from Kjell Arne Hubred (rhythm guitar) and Stian Aarstad (keyboards) upon the album, the band has unleashed a furnace of ferocity and accomplished imagination on the new album which continues to set the band to the fore of extreme metal. Released via My Kingdom Music, the follow up to their impressive 2007 album, Give Us the Power to Do Your Evil, is an alchemy of evil and violation which demands and grips a captivation for its sadistic menace with skilled malevolent craft.
The senses pervading Intro lures the listener into the album first its dawning sinister ambience a full wrap before opening up to choral harmonies and bedlamic menace which in turn leads its eager victim in the intensive title track. A raging fire of bone snapping rhythms and jugular threatening riffs lay a thick mesh of black and incendiary intent and sound across the ear whilst the vocals of Amlien and their serpentine corrosion scar and exhaust the defences, to create a dramatic onslaught. It does not necessarily make the immediate hook of the passion as other songs on the release but with its merciless onslaught of devious rhythms and understated yet involved guitar weaves emerges as one of the most lingering and nastiest compelling antagonists upon In The Presence Of Death.
The following Demon Child expels an avalanche of crippling beats and ravenous riffs entwined by a blistering sonic groove which survives and seduces from within the tempest of intensity whilst Redemption and The Priest From Hell both badger and brutalise the passions to a further submission and pleasure. The first of the pair ripples with the hungry sinews of the bass of Amlien whilst Rebo enflames the skies of the track with searing melodic invention. It is a contagion not to be denied as is the second of the two, the track a rasping caustic brawl of again unsympathetic merciless drum antagonisms from Hektoen, tightly lashing guitar sonics, and the perpetually intrusive and acidic vocals. Though the track fails to ignite the fire in the belly as did its predecessors it just rumbles within and defaces the senses for through satisfaction.
Welcome To My Funeral brings the greatest moment of the album to the ear, the track an infectious seduction of heavy strolling metal grooves and barbed melodies alongside a squalling rich ambience of corrupting fervour. As throughout the release, the guitar of Rebo scores the emotions with defined yet tart sonic enterprise to blister upon the listener but equally leave them smarting with bliss.
Further tracks like the savage Womb Of The Wolf with its rabid energy and vitriolic sonic web of persuasion and the snarling Vampire Dreams which bares its hellacious fangs within seconds of its punishing presence ignite further subservience to the striking and immense album. The latter of the two also scores with spirals of guitar flame and sonic vehemence to offer sweet pain whilst the bass finds the surliest repine voice of the whole album.
Completed by two more ferocious and unbridled of deranged spite in the excellent additive From The Dead and the mutually virulent in its own treacherous way The Day Before She Died, In The Presence Of Death is a stirring raptor of intense and impressive mordancy. Black metal has been once more been ignited by Crest Of Darkness.
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