Every Friday, The Metal Examiner delves metal’s endless depths to present the genre’s most important and exciting albums.
Blaspherian: “Infernal Warriors of Death”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/05.-Infernal-Warriors-Of-Death.mp3|titles=Blaspherian – Infernal Warriors of Death]
The cover art of Infernal Warriors of Death bears a striking resemblance to Dawn of Possession, so it’s no surprise that Blaspherian‘s debut full-length shares quite a bit with early Immolation. Although formed in 2004, Blaspherian is far from prolific, having only released a demo, an EP, and a few splits previous to this recording. Its 2007 EP was a respectable old-school death-metal release, but it was not enough of a unique statement to set it apart from the classic bands of the early ’90s and late ’80s.
However, with Infernal Warriors of Death, Blaspherian has claimed its spot in Texas’ long history of extreme metal. This is crowded territory, as the state has offered up one of the genre’s initial classics in Necrovore‘s Divus de Mortuus demo, underrated technical thrash bands in Rigor Mortis and Dead Horse, and two of the most compelling United States black-metal bands in Absu and Averse Sefira.
Blaspherian clearly operates in the aesthetic framework of its death-metal forebears, but it has found its own voice in the style. The subtleties of string bends and drum fills indicate the care of skilled craftsmen. Though the bulk of this album is mid-paced and darkly melodic, blast beats are played at a modern speed, rather than at the tempos of the early ’90s. Each song contains a main theme that is varied throughout the composition, often through key modulation or slight rhythmic offsets.
The bends, pinch harmonics, and hammer-ons are straight out of the Incantation and Immolation fake book, and octave melody lines recall the techniques of Sepultura and Scandinavian death-metal bands. The barked and gurgled vocals are somewhere between classic and modern, reflecting the technique pioneered by Suffocation‘s Frank Mullen. Palm-muted, thrash-metal-esque riffs break up the death-metal structures as seen on recordings by Immolation and Pestilence that transitioned between thrash and death metal.
This is not a no-frills approach to death metal, as there are several unusual time signatures and riffs that go through many permutations on each song. However, it doesn’t come across as technical, which is a testament to the songwriting. Each part flows into the next without jarring the listener. Blaspherian has created an album that successfully recreates the classic death-metal experience with several additions that make it more than just a tribute.
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