Negative Plane - The Pact...
Invictus Productions
Black Metal
7 songs (59:19)
Release year: 2022
Invictus Productions
Reviewed by Goat
Album of the month

A long eleven years since their last blessing of an album in Stained Glass Revelations, American don't-call-them-USBMers Negative Plane are back, and as you'd expect, still provide a compelling slice of classic heavy metal-infused darkness. Taking black metal back to its earliest days to tell the dark concept tale of an architect enlisting the Devil to aid in his building of a mighty Church, The Pact... follows on stylistically from the previous album but is blessed with a clearer yet still very organic mix that allows the band's dark spells to make more of an impact. Driven, as before, by eerie, wailing and downright gothic guitar riffs, not to mention stylistic bells and whistles to enhance the atmospheric impact, The Pact... tells its story extremely well. Switching between classic metal, thrash, and doom-inspired riffing and bundling them all up in lengthy, prog-tinged compositions, an obvious touchstone is legendary British thrashers Sabbat or a less chaotic Absu, yet fans of Funereal Presence will recognise guitarist and drummer Bestial Devotion's hand at play here too.

And it's surprisingly catchy at points, such as the doomy centre point of opener A Work to Stand A Thousand Years that leads into ear-pleasing widdly soloing or the entirety of Poison and the Crucifix, which quickly latches onto a series of twisty riffs and rides them along deliciously. Added to this is a deliberately odd drum performance from Bestial Devotion, apparently down to thinking like a guitarist when writing, that is technical but extremely varied and almost constantly shifting, with plenty of fills and fripperies to make it just as much of a delight to listen to as the guitars. And the songwriting is expert, making for a cohesive album that can take in variations such as the more restrained and melodic opening to Even the Devil Goes into the Church, vibes closer to classic rock than black metal, before launching into a gallop and ending up like a less flamboyant Mercyful Fate.

Things get even weirder with the gothic rock strums of The Other Door, and even brief instrumental interlude The Wailing of the Immured is terrific, an ominous pause for breath between eight-minute monsters. The real highlight of the album comes with the closing sixteen minute And so It Came to Pass, a more atmospheric take on Negative Plane's style that leans a little heavier on backing keyboards and the psychedelic influences in the band's DNA to great effect as passages of clean guitar waft you away like some forgotten 70s gem. The Pact... could well be an artefact from past decades, so classic is its style and feeling, and the fact that five out of seven songs here are over eight minutes long but feel less than half that thanks to being so well written and packing so much in only helps the band. A superb album that only improves on repeated listens, and shows Negative Plane's skills off wonderfully.

Killing Songs :
A Work to Stand A Thousand Years, Poison and the Crucifix, And so It Came to Pass
Goat quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Negative Plane that we have reviewed:
Negative Plane - Stained Glass Revelations reviewed by Charles and quoted 90 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 2 replies to this review. Last one on Sat Jul 23, 2022 4:50 am
View and Post comments