If you ever wondered whether there can be real beauty to an extreme metal release then checking out the new album from Canadian black metallers Ordoxe will easily answer your thoughts. Beyond Mankind brings a tempting charm to its ravenous pestilential violation, a raw creative elegance to its exhausting and erosive corruption of senses which ignites the imagination. Also within its ruinous intent is buried a magnetic seduction which at times is given full rein to craft some of the most mesmeric and sonically delicious adventures inside the oppressive nature of the beast. The album is a demanding listen at times but a dramatically rewarding one resulting in one of the more thrilling and potent black metal releases this year.
Ordoxe was formed initially as a solo project in 1989 by guitarist/singer Jean-François Jalbert of pioneer Canadian black metal band Slaotvean. Due to the band’s growing popularity and demands on his time, Ordoxe was swiftly on the backburner. 2006 saw Jalbert bring the project back to life and recorded the album Sorrick Ked followed a year later by its successor Magnum Opus. Well-received in the metal underground, the albums drew eager attention but Slaotvean once again began taking most of his time and energy so Ordoxe was back in the shadows again, waiting. The demise of his main band in 2011 allowed Jalbert to make Ordoxe his prime objective, reinforcing it presence by enlisting guitarist Samuel Landry, bassist JD Bergeron, and drummer Steve De Cotret with the intent of taking the band on to a live landscape too. The Trois-Rivieres, Quebec based quartet band released the again keenly received fury of third album Nihil last year and now push their presence and creativity to new heights and depths with Beyond Mankind.
Released via Hymnes d’Antan, the album opens with the severely ferocious Obsessions. It is a rage of abrasing riffs and rhythmic hostility from its first breath, an instantly compelling onslaught aided by an emerging nagging of grooves and a raw vocal causticity which entice and lay waste to the senses respectively. Jalbert spills venom and malevolence with every squalling syllable to temper and corrosively engage the increasingly contagious enterprise of guitars, especially their virulent charge of riffs and engrossing grooves. As soon realised with the opener, every track is an adventure and a seamless slip into melodic beauty within a gentle landscape soon wrong foots and excites, as does its subsequent evolution into a winding flame of sonic intrigue and raw expression in turn leading to a final dramatic storm. It is a transfixing start to the album which flows straight into the fascinating provocation of À travers ses yeux. There is a vicious turbulence to the track once it breaks from its initial imagination catching bait, a relentless rabidity in intensity and waspish riffery which seduces ravenously. The track is exhaustingly demanding and feverishly rewarding, the guitars riveting in their creative narrative and sonic investigations.
Both Exiled Archangels and Tel un arbre keep thoughts and passions inflamed, the first a purposefully striding enmity of sonic causticity and barbarous rhythms brewed into another addictive and malevolent rampage of extreme beauty and emotional antipathy. The second is a slower pestilential encroachment of senses and emotions, it’s more reserved but no less corruptive breath a weave of enthralling melodies and imagination sparking sonic designs lorded over by the demonic tones of Jalbert. Longer in making its persuasion but no less impacting and impressing, the track reveals more of the immersive depths to the songwriting and sound of Ordoxe.
Comes Forth the Night offers a familiarity from the off, its opening sonic groove closely related to the previous song yet individual in its casting and effect. Though not as gripping as earlier songs on the album, it still binds ears and thoughts in an inescapable netting of senses devouring predation and skilled temptation before passing the album over to the outstanding From Chaos Are Born the Stars. There is an almost rockabilly twang to the opening clash of chords and a spicy sultriness to the songs breath which twists and expands into an inventive emprise of sonic innovation and mesmeric viciousness. Their source maybe black metal but with this track alone Ordoxe shows they create rock ‘n’ roll at its most brutal and creatively addictive.
We are Vermin is of similar breeding, pure rock ‘n’ roll cloaked in its own unique extreme metal ferocity and ideation. Uncompromising and virulently compelling with a mouth-watering progressive bewitching to its extraordinary soundscape, the song is an exceptional protagonist for ears and emotions, and another excuse to wax lyrical about the album and band.
The album is brought to a powerful close by the insatiably ravenous Orion Nebula, every element fusing for a voraciously aggressive yet seductively imaginative tide of irresistible suasion, and finally the blistering and fearsome Samsara which sums up with its spiralling dynamics and ingenious hostility, the might of Ordoxe perfectly.
As suggested at the start Beyond Mankind is one of the most impressive black metal releases this year and just gets stronger with every excursion of its venomous majesty.
Beyond Mankind is available now @ http://ordoxe.bandcamp.com/album/beyond-mankind
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