The Axis of Perdition - Tenements (Of The Anointed Flesh)
Code666 Records
Atmospheric Post-Black
10 songs (1:00:23)
Release year: 2011
Code666 Records
Reviewed by Goat

Two stunning examples of what can be done with atmosphere in a unique and harrowing way, and one utter laughable disaster down the line, The Axis Of Perdition are still a name that makes my inner black metalhead prick up its batlike ears in excitement. And new album Tenements (Of The Anointed Flesh) didn’t exactly suggest a return to the brilliant horror of the band’s first two albums with its cover art being closer to the artsy oddness of Urfe – but judge not lest ye be judged and all that. So giving the band’s fourth full-length a listen with expectant ears hoping for brilliance yet prepared for disappointment, I was pleased to hear a return to the dissonant eeriness of before, if to not quite as freakish an effect. Apparently with real drumming, Tenements whips up an atmospheric storm almost immediately, clouds of off-kilter riffing floating around you whilst the tormented vocals and underlying stuttering battery form a cage that locks the listener in tightly.

There are changes to bring the formula up to date – the vocals are more understandable, the production is a little clearer, there are fewer Silent Hill references and sampling. Yet all in all, the effect is much as disturbing as ever, the music more focused, stripped-down and less meandering with variety becoming more subtle, such as the blastbeats of Unbound. Listening to the guitars alone, the album can seem rather repetitive, yet with the vocals and rhythm section in tow, the shapes in the gloom become more distinct and unique. Repeated from Urfe was the usage of Anaal Nathrakh-esque clean singing here and there, not for catchy choruses (the very idea of the chorus being anathema to this proudly structureless music) but for moments of deranged splendour. There’s a sense of disgust evident from the vocals to tracks like The Flesh Spiral that works remarkably well with the constantly shifting guitar, ironically more melodic here than ever (Sigils And Portents almost has guitar solos!).

Obvious comparisons to Deathspell Omega will bring fans and haters of that particular band running, and there is a clear line of reference to Paracletus – yet the bands are still very different to these ears, Tenements far more dementedly melodic and less in keeping with extreme metal boundaries. This isn’t as perfect an exploration of terrain insane as the earlier albums (later tracks like the nine-minute-plus The Charger can drag a little) and aside from a slightly more frantic pace as the album goes on, there’s little real variety at show. Disintegration will cause your brain to melt, however, as it jerkily folds up on itself, and the following orchestrally-enhanced Ordained is surprisingly pleasant. As ever, The Axis Of Perdition haven’t made an album so much as an experience, a mental journey through terrain that you would rather not visit, and although this is less disturbing and more disorientating than previous travels, they are still one of the most vital bands around for those interested in black metal’s atmospheric possibilities.

Killing Songs :
Unveiled, Sigils And Portents, The Flesh Spiral, Disintegration, Ordained
Goat quoted 81 / 100
Other albums by The Axis of Perdition that we have reviewed:
The Axis of Perdition - Urfe reviewed by Goat and quoted 40 / 100
The Axis of Perdition - Deleted Scenes From The Transition Hospital reviewed by Goat and quoted 92 / 100
The Axis of Perdition - The Ichneumon Method (And Less Welcome Techniques) reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
The Axis of Perdition - Physical Illucinations in the Sewer of Xulchilbara (The Red God) reviewed by Aaron and quoted no quote
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