It’s good that some bands don’t really give a damn. They can’t be bothered about perception, sales values, returns on investment, and all those other things of lesser importance. Or a decent presence on social networks, SEO, and the infamous marketing thing.
In Black Metal, these folks are trve kvlt. Those that much rather live down in that fiery pit, blow their drums to smithereens with their blast beats and worry their guitars and vocal cords until things overheat. Delicious dissonance on a platter of lava-hot, fucking Extreme Metal. Brutal odes to the beginnings of Black Metal in its true and singular form of existence.
That is the world of the Australian band Wardaemonic and their newest record Acts of Repentance. They play this sort of a visceral Black Metal style that we don’t hear all that often anymore. Something usually reserved for underground labels, with bands dealing in cassettes like others with cocaine. You know, these oldish plastic things with tapes in them that went into those ancient Walkman machines.
And this band really drives these pretty sad clichés hard. Their unreadable, branchy logo on a background of fiery clouds – for instance – really speaks by itself. And I will spare you the age-worn meme joke that goes with it.
Yet, here the RMR deck crew just got themselves their hairdo rearranged. The Australians from Wardaemonic really live up to their name. Furious blast beats, evil rasps galore and those somewhat simplistic riffs that emerge straight from the times of early Black Metal.
Acts of Repentance serves you a somewhat wild mix of Bathory and Burzum on steroids. With a few nods towards more modern bands like Geisterfels that harvested this particular field somewhat fierce, too. And all that blackened jazz delivers with all those snazzy options modern technology provides.
Some of them passages eerily resemble what the harder bits of Hope Drone depicted in 2019. Down to the slightly dronish qualities and those hints towards faux Hardcore. So, I am not sure, but there could be something in the water down under that encourages this kind of style.
At the outset, Acts of Repentance sounds like one of those straightforward Black Metal pieces. A direct assault on your eardrums, without looking left nor right. Which seems to originate right out of Black Metal underground school.
But not so fast.
First and for this once only, the ceaseless barrage of drum beats truly belongs to the soundscape. Repentance ain’t one of those disks where they added the drums somewhat as a second thought. They fit perfectly and they don’t gripe. And that’s pretty enigmatic if you ask me.
Then, the tune suddenly embarks on these forays into Melodic Black Metal. Yet again, at frugal levels with the merest hints of melody. Because Wardaemonic dearly like their dissonance that starts to challenge the likes of Dodecahedron.
The slightly industrial flavor at the start of Admission drives this home neatly. Followed by a petty terrifying array of all things Extreme Metal has to offer.
Or the bass speaking up like Riti Occulti at work in Castigation, just to descend into those icy lands of desolation a bit later. This is where Black Metal meets Death. A truly astounding steamroller right there. This track really is the cherry and the icing on this Black Metal cake combined.
Acts of Repentance does not cease to amaze further, though. I truly liked the contribution of the bass a bit later in Sufferance. The one track that will descend into a clear vocal chorus shortly thereafter.
And towards the end, Wardaemonic veer away from the trve path and inject some progressives on top of the wildly errant bass. But Repentance will return to the fold of frightful dissonance by about midpoint. And besides, this is one stellar example of how you can wrap a track artfully pretty much around one single riff. Unlike others who produced a pretty rough failure.
So, you see, what first sounded like something truly streamlined and – indeed – linear, turned out to be juicily complex and full of facets. A record we enjoyed from beginning to end. And back again.
And make no mistake, Acts of Repentance is one artfully crafted piece of top-notch Black Metal. One that lusts after the old and traditional Northern Extreme Metal with just the right dose of melodics to keep things afloat, epic, and interesting.
Wardaemonic are a talented bunch, with one of the best Black Metal offerings to date in 2020. So, if you are an adept of the black art, you should definitely give them a shot. It’s heavy fare, but really worth it.