Embrace of Thorns - Atonement Ritual
NWN Productions
Black Metal
13 songs (40:15)
Release year: 2009
Official Myspace
Reviewed by Charles
Like intangible fleas on the back of invisible rats, black metal’s most appealing characteristic is its ability to harness sound itself for use as a bearer of vile plague. In the place of the rotting corpses that littered the muddy roads of medieval Europe, wizened, mouldy guitar phrases and creaking vocal emanations are the evidence of our pervading modern-day sickness. Atonement Ritual was created by our technology but sounds animalistic and arcane; it’s faded rumble placing it in the vein, perhaps, of Black Witchery but, I dare say, with more interesting songwriting.

This can only appeal to those with a masochistic desire to open their ears up as a lobey common room for minute sewage-shovellers. The riffs are dense, and often have a very strong flavour of rancid death metal. They can be truly blistering but the necro ethos leaves them sometimes sounding queasily weak, like the victim of a Texas funeral. Rarely is this better illustrated than on Perdition Hammer, in which Deicide-like guitar hammering is haunted by pale-faced, reverb-heavy lead noodling, which serves little purpose but to give the whole thing a sense of unease. The song trails off unexpectedly and immediately in the middle of a riff, like someone dying before they finish a.

All of which, as any black metal lover will understand, very much adds to its appeal. Atonement Ritual really works, from the hammy but reliable ambient horror diversions that open and close the album, to the grandiose doomy plodding of Tombs of the Desecrated Zealots, among others. Indeed, it’s these slower moments that really elevate this. Venom in Veins’s opening staggers along, even allowing a sense of groove to emerge, like Burzum’s Lost Wisdom, for example, but the dripping-with-pus guitar tone of a corpsepainted Obituary. These passages sound utterly rotten but simultaneously imposing, like the Necronomicon from the Evil Dead films. Embrace of Thorns shamble through an album of murky black metal with black blood pouring from their noses and orange-sized welters under their arms; if you are wondering about music for your next children’s party or wedding reception, why not give it a try?

Killing Songs :
Tombs of the Desecrated Zealots, Venom in Veins
Charles quoted 80 / 100
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