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Pneuma Hagion – Voidgazer

Pneuma Hagion
Voidgazer
by Brian Lowrie at 21 December 2020, 10:59 PM

While one could easily dismiss the pseudo-necessity of the sub-genre mixing that exists within the modern metal community, I could make an argument for both sides. Sure, it’s equally important to take something for what it is, rather than what it’s called; however, if someone asks for a band that sounds like Cannibal Corpse for example, you wouldn’t tell them to check out Symphony X, even though both bands are respectable in their own rights. When it comes to Pneuma Hagion, it gets a little harder for me to make a 1:1 recommendation simply based on their face value. Their new record “Voidgazer” seems to have it all: dark overtones with an old school death metal base, and some sections that are just as heavy that play off of the disparaging atmospheres, even daring to venture into a more Doom-esque territory that is is consistently brutal at it’s roots.

As I’ve said before on previous reviews, blast beats are a cheap way to win me over, and “Aeons of Slumber” doesn’t fail to win me over this way. This track definitely carries a heavy burden on it’s shoulder by setting the bar pretty high in regards to how heavy this band can get. “Summoning” might not wander too far off from this low-end barrage, but does heavily lean toward busier guitar work that sounds like Leprosy-era Death, just tuned down way lower. Unfortunately, “The Black Light” is a song that failed to impress on first listen, but grew on me. While not being an eviler track as the title would apply, it definitely prefers to build and release tension during the last half. Where this album really seemed to click was in tracks like “Timeless Darkness”, which has a fairly consistent flow throughout, but the moments it slows down a little aren’t jarring in the slightest. Some sections of this track in specific remind me of …And Time Begins-era Decrepit Birth (to specify further, the track  “Of Genocide”, which is in my top ten list of heavier songs). The adrenaline rush from this song carries over into “Anticosmic Incantations” as well, even if the emphasis on this track is quicker-paced. The call and response of the vocal track in the latter half of this song is also a treat for the keen-eared listener, as it’s subtlety really helps it not be gaudy. “Febrile Dreams” was a track I found peculiar, as it has a very distinct trade-off between the grind and doom influence; this which leads to the transitions being fairly abrasive and even though the unpredictably is admirable, I found it difficult to get attached to any idea for too long. This fault also persists through “Gates To Worlds Beyond”, however in a more magnified fashion, even though the doom influences are a little more heavy handed during this track. “Drawn Down From The Stars”  on the other hand is a tried and true death metal assault, proving that the error with the couple of the previous songs lies more in consistent pacing rather than slowing things down to an abrupt halt. Wrapping up the album with the desolate affair that is “Primordial” is kind of a bold move, as it seems to perfect the formula of tracks like “Gates To Worlds Beyond”, and is more hook-laden than the other track is.

Overall, this is a solid album if you take it for what it is, without trying to shoehorn it into a genre. Even though some of the weaker moments on the album are fairly few and far between, they grow into themselves upon multiple listens. If you enjoy music that is equal parts heavy, hypnotizing and dismal, be sure to give this a spin; it may not shred your face off, but it doesn’t need to, and you’ll still find yourself coming back for more from time to time.

Songwriting 8
Musicianship 7
Memorability 8
Production 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Aeons of Slumber
2. Summoning
3. The Black Light
4. Timeless Darkness
5. Anticosmic Incantations
6. Febrile Dreams
7. Gates To World Beyond
8. Drawn Down From The Stars
9. Primordial
Lineup:
R – vocals, guitars, bass
S – drums
Record Label: Nuclear War Now! Productions
     


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