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Album Review: TBA

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Album Review: Purified In Blood – Under Black Skies

'Under Black Skies' goes completely against the grain. For a start, it’s an album that gets stronger as it progresses. How refreshing to find a work that doesn’t have all it’s big hitters up front, ready-labelled to roll them out in single sequence. It’s almost as if Purified In Blood are holding them back to reward the devotees. This is also their, supposedly, difficult second album, coming four years after their debut, 'Reaper Of Souls'. Well they’ve made a mockery of that premise. One more thing to consider: between their first and second albums, this Nordic sextet announced their demise due to divisions in the band’s philosophies. So how have they managed to come back stronger than ever before?

Just the fact that they’ve got Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Isis, Botch) involved speaks volumes. Their committed lyrics have never been in doubt but here they seem even more focussed, controlled and pinpoint – yes, this is a band on a mission. You just have to listen to the demonic presence that lurks within this construct. It reaches out with great bony fingers to stir beligerently at a bubbling cooking pot of sounds. The drums regularly release allowing dark chords to gather strength before firing off great thundercracks; the sneering vocal seemingly rips out it’s own throat to lump wodges of hardcore and burnt black metal posturing at your feet; the double-kick has gone sub-level to make the floor around shake and rattle. There is so much here that sounds unhinged that by ‘Mouth Of Doom’ you’ll probably be cowering behind the sofa. This is the musical equivalent of letting an axe-wielding serial killer into your bedroom.

‘End Is Now’ and ‘Flesh And Frost’ are quite possibly the most genius pair of side-by-side tracks I’ve heard since Lamb Of God gave us ‘Set To Fail’ and followed it up with ‘Contractor’. The former threatens to mash you into pulp with one blood-soaked riff, a swaggering rhythm and an absolute vocal slaughtering. It also benefits from creating an invasive sense of unease through some clever recording techniques (suddenly submerging the clean recording into a muffled underworld, for instance). Creeping up like death, the fury of the latter hits you hard by flexing it’s impressive muscles with a pile-driving pace, gut-heavy double-kick and inspired hooked riff key-change. It’s ear-bending stuff, this.

Hatebreed, Unearth, Lamb Of God, Chimaira, Amon Amarth, brace yourselves. Purified In Blood have just dropped a bomb on us and the shockwave will tear a hole through their peers like nothing else.

Full review =
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