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Review: Soulburn - Earthless Pagan Spirit
Earthless Pagan Spirit

Label: Century Media Records
Year released: 2016
Duration: 46:36
Tracks: 8
Genre: Black/Death

Rating: 4/5

Review online: November 21, 2016
Reviewed by: Bruno Medeiros
Readers Rating
Earthless Pagan Spirit

Rated 3.91/5 (78.18%) (11 Votes)

Soulburn is as evil as it gets when it comes to Death/Doom Metal and, allied to a few pinches of Black Metal here and there, are quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. True, they have been around since 1996 in one way or another, but it was not until recently that they encountered their true identity. Earthless Pagan Spirit, third full-length album by the Dutchmen, will make your spine shiver. The album borrows the most crushing, pestilent and predatory characteristic of the Death, Doom and Black genres and mixes it into a vile and dirty experience, as can be heard right from the first chords of opener "When Splendid Corpses Are Towering Towards the Sun". The song delivers a satanic and vastly disturbing atmosphere, illustrating well the chaos that is to come. "The Blood Ascendant" follows in a gloomy manner, with relentless slow leads and a perfect rendition of the Doom genre in its first half, only to completely explode into a fast-paced thriller by the mid portion; killer. "Howling at the Heart of Death" continues with the dense atmosphere and shows a slower side of the album; while it's heavy and almost funeral-like, also delivers a powerful experience. Twan van Geel performs especially well in the track.

As I said, Earthless Pagan Spirit features only the cream of the crop in terms of the genres played by the band, and this is clearly seen on "As Cold as Heavens Slain", "Withering Nights" and "The Torch" as well. The alignment and changes of pace between old-school Death Metal and a mix of Black and classic Doom Metal help the songwriting and track-by-track heterogeneity tremendously, which makes for a rich and rewarding journey through the depths of the underground. "Spirited Asunder", the longest track of the album, manages to captivate with great doomy passages, like the featured solo, while never losing the brutal and heretic elements of Black and Death Metal. Closer "Diary of a Reaper" is the most bizarre tune on the album, featuring only wind sounds, ritualistic drums and cult-like choirs that will most likely wet the pants of the unwary listener. A beautifully crafted end to an amazingly worthy album.

Daniels and Bagchus are masters of their craft and have maintained the aura and evilness of Soulburn's spiritual brother Asphyx, while adding a few twists of their own; these guys are not kidding around, I can guarantee you that. This work is an awesome addition to the extreme metal scene and most definitely their best. Stellar performances, spot-on background atmosphere and a fired-up attitude turn Earthless Pagan Spirit into a criminally good album, well worth checking out.

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