Blacklodge - T/ME [3rd Level Initiation = Chamber Of Downfall]
End All Life Productions
Industrial Black Metal
5 songs (32:47)
Release year: 2010
Reviewed by Goat

Time to take a lot at the French part of this intriguing Industrial Black Metal project. As you'd expect from comparing the artwork of the two bands, Blacklodge's album is considerably clearer and thus easier to get to grips with than Abigor's. It is also inferior by comparison, not nearly as atmospheric, experimental and incandescent as the Austrian's potential masterpiece, but looked at on its own the complexly named T/ME is more than a worthy piece of Industrial Black Metal. France have long been capable of producing very interesting music indeed from the Metal underground - last year's Reverence, to take a non-obvious example - and Blacklodge have been producing Industrial Black Metal for years. I haven't really been that aware of them, despite hearing their previous album Solarkult and enjoying it, yet T/ME is a large step forwards in many ways.

Blacklodge are Industrial in the old-fashioned, bludgeoning post-Godflesh sense rather than Abigor's whirry futuristic discord, and as much as the band try and overload you with the various bleeps and whistles, the underlying structure is clear. T/ME takes a step forwards away from the purely artificial sound of the band's past to a more dissonant, post-Black sound that is experimental and atmospheric without abandoning Black Metal entirely. The opening track here, Lambda [or the Last of the Gods; Being the Secret of Satan] is a rhythmic pounder driven by a see-sawing backing beat as spoken clean and harsh vocals and guitar melodies weave a strange web. Structurally, this is very much Industrial rather than Black Metal, reminiscent of Blut Aus Nord's later period but much more rigid and considered rather than freeform and spiralling. The album never really breaks free of the Industrial Metal confines, although Vector G (gravity XVI) is more strident and speedier, the beats coming thick and fast as the violence grows.

T/ME is an easy album to like if you enjoy Industrial Metal - fans of the aforementioned Reverence will love it, for example, and I can see those that enjoy The Amenta having a good time as well. I suppose this and the Abigor are best thought of as the underground's answer to the forthcoming Fear Factory album, an engaging Black Metal beast that is like some corpsepainted robot roaring and ranting - don't expect catchiness, however. The initially light melodies of Sulphuric Acedia soon are lost in the machinery as beats drown guitars and things turn techno - be forewarned, if you want big, hard riffs you won't find them here. I'd go so far as saying that the various beats are the premier instrument in T/ME, guitars relegated to the background, and whilst it's not necessarily a bad thing, it's not everyone's cup of post-apocalyptic tea. The Blackest track present is Saturn, a planetary ride which will rock the socks of any Black Metaller who has ever enjoyed a Mysticum track - actually, if the Norwegians ever manage to make another album I can see it sounding very much like this.

Going back to compare this to Abigor's album, I have to say that I prefer Time Is The Sulphur... to T/ME. It's far more experimental and atmospheric, chilling and corroding at the same time, yet as each album is a different take on the same theme, there's no reason that both can't be purchased and enjoyed. I doubt the bands went as far as designing them to be played simultaneously or anything like that, not least because Abigor's album is nearly six minutes longer. Still, this is an enjoyably forward-looking venture that adds weight to my already strong expectations for 2010 being a wonderful year for underground metal - the future looks enjoyably grim.

Killing Songs :
Lambda [or the Last of the Gods; Being the Secret of Satan], Vector G (gravity XVI), Saturn
Goat quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Blacklodge that we have reviewed:
Blacklodge - MachinatioN reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
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