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Essence of Blasphemers - Calyx of Black Metal Blood

Essence of Blasphemers
Calyx of Black Metal Blood
by Barbra Rose at 15 December 2020, 6:46 AM

On June 23 2020, German Band ESSENCE OF BLASPHEMERS released “The Calyx of Black Metal Blood: (a calyx is the outermost cup-like shell of a flower–or even a veil to cover or hold something of a greater essence). “Act of Blasphemy” - the first album track opens as an introductory overture slightly longer than one minute. The track involves an undecipherable, repetitive vocal chant over floor toms beating continuously “tum tikka-tikka-tum / tikka-tikka-tum /  tikka-tikka-tum …” while the repetitive vocal chant crescendos beyond that of the drum.

“Ritual” - the second track, featuring Rafn, opens as an incredibly fast song - through both the rhythm guitars and the drums.  At one minute thirty seconds–the intensity of speed and lyrical verses pause;  for the procedure of an extremely pleasant dissonance that rings through the unwound strings of the rhythm guitar - that begins to rhythmically “comp” through the harmonic progression until about three minutes thirty-five seconds into the song.   At this point - the former intensity between the rhythm guitar & drums resumes until about four minutes, eighteen seconds for the return of “dissonant” guitar “comping”.  At about five minutes thirty-five seconds, the referenced intensity returns–and proceeds to the eventual yet sudden end.

“Blessed By Black Candles” - the third album track, opens with distorted guitars with a style that strums more than thrashes, while drums enter with heavy use of cymbals–more so here than elsewhere throughout the release;   the guitar track seems to ascend by one whole step then moves to the major seventh scale degree–revolving–even perhaps neighboring around the tonic root of E.   This pauses at about three quarters through the song - until the drums jump start the previous cessura. The song progresses with subsequent chromatic ascensions - and continuous use of cymbals–ending with lower voice set of groans.

“Nazarene” - the fourth album track, opens with four fast beats on a snare drum for the rhythm guitar - perhaps more with the unwound guitar strings strumming with continuous sixteenth note patterns. At one minute and eighteen seconds - the guitars enter with a heavier track of distorted rhythms - presumably with the lower, wound strings. At one minute forty seconds, another guitar track enters with that which I believe the unwound g string one half tone above the tonic root (a’ la Eddie VAN HALEN’S harmonic arpeggiation in their 1984 album hit song entitled “Panama”):  this culminates into a classic resounding “half-step” dissonance at about two-minutes forty songs into the tune-for recapitulations of former themes that play until the ending of the song.

The fifth album track - “The Conflict of I”, begins with guitar rhythms moving with sixteenth note rhythmic patterns, moving harmonically through the tonic scale by eighth note patterns (the melody progresses more slowly than the guitar rhythm);  drums move with an incredibly fast, thrash-like beat - until about two minutes twenty-seven seconds when the drums & rhythm guitars pause.  During this pause - synthesizers create a dark tone - descending & re-ascending with half tones by a clean guitar strum - amidst breathy, slightly vocal sighs.  At three minutes forty seconds, the former tempo resumes until the song ends.

“Exalted Blasphemer” - the sixth album track, plays with one rhythm guitar track using heavier wound strings - with a second guitar track strumming higher unwound strings - with a limited slow opening-&-closing of the wah sound. The drums are incredibly fast.  At about two & one half minutes, the song slows to an easier rhythmic chord progression - while the drums utilize crash cymbals for nearly each beat. The song ends with a return of the developmental riff that embodied the song basis.

“Calyx Of Black Metal Blood” - the seventh sequential song is that of the title track, and it opens with one distorted chord played simultaneously with a cymbal crash that sustains for five seconds.   By thirty-five seconds into the song - the guitar sounds move from the lower “wound” guitar string” strings, so often equated with rhythm guitar in metal, to the unwound higher strings.   By fifty-four seconds into the song - the rhythm guitars & drums slow from eighth notes to quarter notes.  At one minute forty-eight seconds, the intensity of the onslaught ceases, drums pause, for the guitars to move to sixteenth note patterns on the unwound strings. By one minute fifty-seven seconds into the song - the drums, resume–but now with a standard sixteenth note drive via bass drum - with the snare drum in near imitation–and this is incredibly fast! At two minutes and forty-seven seconds, the drums revert back to the eighth notes & with guitars using sixteenth notes; until about three minutes-forty-one seconds as the drums increase though both speed & intensity. At three-minutes fifty-one seconds, listeners hear Malduchyst annunciate the song name “Calyx Of Black Metal Blood” - as the song, shortly afterward, ends.

“Massacre” - the eighth album track, opens with a few drum beats- then quickly progresses into a pedal tone almost rhythmically reminiscent of HENRY MANCINI’S theme song Peter Gunn” - but with a tonal yet dissonant chromaticism. “Arise from the Ashes … ” sings Malduchryst, as accidental harmonic scale degrees create a tonic melodic zig-zag (if written in traditional, musical notation) - earning this to be my favorite album track. Drums move along with a near funeralistic dirge; and due to the degree of harmonic tonicism, the listener feels tension at every moment that the melody deviates from the pedal tonic. If musical innovation were ever present in Black Metal - it is here.

“Essence of Hate” - the ninth album track,  opens with a short introductory drum solo -and the guitars more strum - and play open unwound strings, rather than mute the lower wound guitar strings so often prevalent throughout thrash metal. At about two minutes into the song - guitars nearly arpeggiate through a pause of rhythmic intensity previously found especially through the drums.   Throughout the portions of the song, the prevalent use of crash cymbals is heard nearl as frequently as in the second album track “Ritual”.

“The Satan Pest” - the tenth album track, opens with chromatic guitar dissonance through the unwound guitar strings.  The drums use a fast thrash-style beat, while guitars revert to strumming through the chord progression. At about two minutes ten seconds into the song - a recapitulation of the head riff occurs–but without drums;  at two minutes forty seconds, the drums slowly re-introduce themselves - and ten seconds further the original intensity of the song recurs that repeat until the final groan of Malduchryst that the ends the song.“Kill The Masses”- the eleventh album track begins with a lower rhythm guitar almost reminiscent of CELTIC FROST and other punk bands of the nineteen eighties. Malduchryst groans in a much lower register as he has through periods throughout this release - but as the song progresses, amidst fast & active drums, he reverts to his higher register.

The twelfth and closing track, “The Flames”, the song opens with one and a successive strums of the rhythm guitar - and proceeds with additional unmuted strumming.  Drums use somewhat moderate use of ride cymbals, intermixed with the cymbal bell. At about one minute forty five seconds the drums slow. At about two minutes and ten seconds -the drums furter relent their intensity to a normal rock beat as the vocals are spoken - if not moaned, until about two minutes and forty seconds into the song. At about three minutes twelve seconds the song (Vocals & Drums) revert to the former song body - then ends with a recording of undecipherable voices.

Songwriting:  6
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 6
Production:  6

3 Star Rating

1. Act of Blasphemy
2. Ritual (featuring Rafn)
3. Blessed By Black Candles
4. Nazarene
5. The Conflict of I
6. Exalted Blasphemer
7. Calyx Of Black Metal Blood
8. Massacre
9. Essence Of Hate
10. The Satan Pest
11. Kill The Masses
12. The Flames
Tsorn - Songwriting & All Instruments
Malduchryst - Lyrics and Vocals   
Record Label: Purity Through Fire Records


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