Blasphemer - The Sixth Hour
Candlelight Records
Death Metal
12 songs (42:32)
Release year: 2020
Candlelight Records
Reviewed by Goat

There are plenty of Blasphemers out there, as you'd expect; this is the Italian variant, full of antichristian zeal, and ready and willing to kick your teeth in with brutal death metal. Driven by a hefty guitar tone and a drummer more than willing to beat his kit like it owes him money, The Sixth Hour is intense and heavy. Somewhat like a less melodic, more streamlined and brutal Hypocrisy at points, with dissonance a la Immolation giving the likes of Hail, King of the Jews! a more epic impact, The Sixth Hour is a death metal album uninterested in second gear. Battering the listener from the outset, the likes of Let Him be Crucified come across like a mixture of Krisiun and Vital Remains with the brutality of the former and the melodic touch of the latter (even if just from the widdly soloing towards the end of the track) both notable. Even Behemoth are a valid comparison, although this sounds much more vicious and heavy than the Poles have in years - the ominous opening to The Stumbling Block, for instance, the subsequent battering probably closer to Azarath overall.

All fine and valid touchstones, of course, and Blasphemy brutalise with the best of them. Where The Sixth Hour struggles a little is in distinguishing between individual blast-phemies, the likes of Stabat Mater and, say, The Robe of Mockery not entirely distinct unless you've given the album plenty of listens. Yet it's a solid point in Blasphemer's favour that this is rarely a problem when listening, the general metallic impact enough of an unholy din to keep teeth bared and neck exercised. Brief and classy interlude Blessed Are the Wombs That Never Bore is an enjoyably atmospheric change of pace with its classical acoustic guitar (oddly seeming always to be a fitting choice alongside more brutal death metal variants) and Blasphemer are experienced enough to know to throw the fastest and heaviest cut on the album immediately afterwards for maximum impact, Lord of Lies duly proceeding to kick all sorts of arse even before the wild soloing proceeds to take highlight spot. Instrumental Via Dolorosa stands out with its slower tempo (that doesn't at all reduce the atmospheric impact or heaviness, somehow) as does the more technical INRI (particularly thanks to drummer Davide Cazziole downright showing off). It retains its quality even towards the end of the album as the cleaner yells, tolling bells and plenty of epic chugging of the title track contrasts well with the more grandiose groove of The Deposition, reminiscent more of The Monolith Deathcult. There are faults, sure; even if you don't have a demanding approach to your death metal, finale De Profundis' riffing is a little too Immolation-aping, for instance. Yet overall The Sixth Hour more than fulfils its promise as a brutal yet interesting death metal album, and those both un- and in-itiated in the ways of blasphemy will find plenty of fun to be had.

Killing Songs :
Let Him be Crucified, Lord of Lies, Via Dolorosa, INRI
Goat quoted 80 / 100
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