A more than decent time has passed since the last release from US blackened death metallers Acheron, album The Final Conflict: Last Days Of God; a time which also saw the band temporarily come to a stop in 2010. Now well over twenty years since unleashing the musical malevolence they have become renowned for, the band uncages their newest tempest, Kult des Hasses. Released via Listenable Records, the ten track sonic pestilence is a masterful and creatively insidious plunge into the darkest ravenous creativity of the band and possibly it’s most expressively hungry yet.
Calling the band’s sound blackened death metal has always been missing the flavoursome toxic essences from thrash, doom, and heavy metal which lick and lethally spice their releases and Kult des Hasses is no different. The album seduces, suffocates, and consumes with riffing caught in a wide net of influences, a rhythmic provocation which leaves an array of bruising wounds, and a melodically honed sonic adventure which fuses a plethora of styles. Adventure is a good description of the release, one dragging the blackest malevolent and vitriolic depths with lyrical provocations casting the band’s distinct views over themes such as the occult, misanthropy, and sexual perversion, their extreme Satanic/Anti-religious corrosiveness never far from the surface either. We will be the first to admit that a full awareness of all their older sonic expulsions is lacking but taking Kult Des Hasses alone, Acheron has set standards which emerging bands should want to aspire to.
Over the years band founder vocalist/bassist Vincent Crowley has played with current and former members of bands such as Morbid Angel, Death, Iced Earth, Angel Corpse, Immolation, Dimmu Borgir, Nocturnus, Incantation, Equinox, Estuary, and Sathanas within Acheron, and the new album provides no less inspiring names alongside the trio of himself, guitarist Art Taylor, and drummer Kyle Severn. Joining the trio on the recording there is guest lead guitarist Ricktor Ravensbruck (Wolfpack 44, Electric Hellfire Club , Wolfen Society) as well as numerous vocal guesting from the likes of Kam Lee (Ex-Massacre, The Grotesquery, Bone Gnawer), Jim Lippucci (Soulless), John McEntee (Incantation/Funerus), Jill McEntee (Funerus), Zdenka Prado (Estuary),and Ash Thomas (Estuary/Faithxtractor). Mastered by Dan Swano, the album is a tide of invention and imagination, all tracks forcibly intrusive and persistently contagious in which ever guise they come in.
Opener Daemonum Lux wastes no time making a gentle acquaintance, riffs instantly rummaging through the ears from its first second and rhythms splitting their insistence with firm and determined, if restrained swipes. Almost eight minutes of constantly evolving enticement, the song alone tells you all you need to know about the sonic sculpting and imagination available to the band in their arsenal. Themed around the infamous encounter Aleister Crowley had with the demonic entity known as Choronzon, the song leads thoughts and senses on an exhaustive spiral of undiluted voracious enterprise, twisting with every minute through virally melodic temptation and voracious contagion. It has to be said, and applies to the album itself, for such a dark and pestilential offering the swagger and catchiness of the offering is surprising and irresistible.
From the lengthy intensive start the band through the following Satan Holds Dominion and Raptured To Divine Perversion refuses to remove its foot from the throttle of the urgency which marked the opener, instead aligned to the forceful creative fire racks it up a notch in the case of the first song and merges it with an acidic heavy metal suasion for the second. Both tracks trample through the ears with sinews bulging and a predacious appetite to provoke and challenge lyrically and musically. Their thrilling onslaughts are matched by the equally voracious Jesus Wept (Again And Again), a provocations about twisted visions of torturing Christ within nightly dreams-states. Like those before, the song riles the imagination and ignites the passions with an intensive presentation of skilled and dramatically breathing endeavour, every twist drawing emotions and thoughts deeper into its clutches.
After the predatory Thy Father Suicide, the album hits its highest elevation through Misanthropic Race and Whores And Harlots. The first of the pair is sonic and rhythmic savagery let loose, but within a torrent of spiteful craft and ingenuity which simply manipulates and seduces the passions and imagination. Guitars weave and entwine their melodic ingenuity amongst the merciless riffery whilst the bass prowls and assaults the psyche from within the enslaving rhythmic bait, which again tempts with ridiculously easy success. Its companion is an infiltration of sexual wantonness through a barrage of energy and sound which is just as salacious and virulently addictive. Lashing the senses into willing submission and chaining emotions into an appetite which greedily devours the virulent display of unbridled guitar debauchery, the track is masterful in demand and reward.
Asphyxiation (Hands Of God) and Concubina Do Diabo leaves no ounce of satisfaction and violation untended, both distinct in their presence but united in their prowess and efficiency in captivating the darkest corners of the listener. They make an inventive and incendiary bridge between the previous high plateau and the closing triumph of the release, the monstrously anthemic Devil’s Black Blood, the song an out and out thrash/death metal slab of rock ‘n’ roll. It is a riotous conclusion to an excellent return by Acheron. Whether Kult des Hasses is the band’s strongest effort to date we will leave for others to decide, but for death metal with the bravery and skill to be so much more, this is one magnificent offering.
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