|Review: Blackmass (Brazil) - Gloria Diaboli|
Label: Sinister Sounds
Year released: 2006
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: July 21, 2006
Reviewed by: Chaossphere
Blackmass are, for all intents and purposes, Swedish. Yes, I'm being facetious here, but it's glaringly obvious that these Brazilians are very obviously influenced by Sweden's black metal scene, particularly bands like Setherial, Marduk and Dark Funeral. The former influence is the most obvious, while the last two shine through in the chaotic approach to faster parts and a few of the riffs sounding strikingly similar to those from DF's Vobiscum Satanas album.
Now, for those of us, like me, who feel that Setherial's last few albums have been shit due to annoyingly generic Abyss production jobs, and that Dark Funeral should have thrown in the towel after Vobiscum Satanas, this album is definitely a breath of fresh putrid crypt-air. The main glaring difference between Blackmass and their influences is the production of this CD. Far from an over-polished mess attempting to sound raw, this is genuinely raw, and all the better for it. The drums clatter like pot-lids during the fast parts and crush like a Panzer during the slower section, the guitars saw at your brain but allow enough headroom not to become cloying, and the vocals bellow amidst the cacophony without overpowering anything.
Musically, if you've heard the aforementioned bands, you pretty much know what to expect. The songwriting mostly consists of varying ways to string various hyperblast sections together with more measured, crushingly heavy moments. These mostly serve to break up the mayhem and ensure this doesn't end up sounding like Von on PCP - which is always a good idea since we only need one Panzer Division Marduk, thank you very much. Blackmass are hardly doing anything unique, in fact they seem shamelessly proud of their obvious influences, but this CD is a great listen if you wish Setherial hadn't been castrated by Tommy Tagtgren after Lords of the Nightrealm. The only quibble I have here is the length – generally this sort of thing works best if the overall running time is around 35 minutes, and Gloria Diaboli exceeds that by a full 10 minutes. It doesn't detract from the overall listening experience, but it does make me wish they'd slow down for at least one track to provide a bit of variation amidst all the blasting. That aside, this is well worth tracking down, and as a bonus it's wrapped in a great packaging job with lyrics which can actually be read without a magnifying lens and plenty of pictures with the band brandishing some nifty weapons while sporting their best evil grimaces.
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