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Unholy Baptism - Volume 1 - The Bonds of Servitude

Unholy Baptism
Volume 1 - The Bonds of Servitude
by Tatianny Ruiz at 02 October 2018, 12:05 AM

With an apparently different title "Volume I: The Bonds of Servitude" is actually the second full-length of the American band from Arizona, UNHOLY BAPTISM, released on October 5, 2018, independently and that brings many changes since the 2010 EP "Unholy Baptism" and the album "On the Precipice of the Ancient Abyss"last year.  It features a great growth that took them from a simple guitar and drums project to a complete set with the aim of mixing cool and dark tones of Norway's second wave classics with a more modern sound.  In my opinion it is positive because they want to keep something that we do not even have here so often and at the same time a little sad for the band not gaining its own identity without the Scandinavian influence, but this is where Black Metal has stuck its roots so I can not demand further.

Formed in 2008 in the frigid Northern Arizona scene, UNHOLY BAPTISM was originally a Black Metal project with an emphasis on guitar and drums aiming to merge the New Wave Black Metal of the 2000's deep roots of Norway. It eventually became a tree, as Moloch agreed to contribute to the lead guitar in 2009. A five-track EP was recorded in early 2010 and was followed by multiple concerts in Flagstaff, Arizona and later in 2010 the band went on hiatus due to a variety of circumstances but was reformed in 2012. Mantus and Moloch decided that the project would only be for recording and began the arduous process of reevaluating the sound and tone of the band. As the tone took several turns they decided to mix the ambience by haunting the pragmatic melodic lines found in Black and Doom metal, with mid-tempo riffing reminiscent of the scene of Norwegian Black Metal. The lyrical content is mainly inspired by the occult, theistic Satanism, medieval images and the works of HP Lovecraft, among other subjects and in this album the band was able to follow paths more focused on the evil lived out of the almost repetitive "fanciful" iron and fire on the stage.

After a considerable hiatus from all the live activities to focus solely on studio work, UNHOLY BAPTISM has migrated from Satan's more obvious and tiresome hymns to focus on something more real, and this may be the beginning of the process I mentioned about finding they own musical identity, so obviously I already feel satisfied.

 "Volume I - The Bonds of Servitude" has a decent cover art that runs away from those rustic patterns of poorly worded albums and that is already a big point in consideration.  "Intro - The Awakening of Forgotten Gods" enters the album in a forceful way and you can feel the voracious and ruthless energy that is thrown at you.  "… These Scars are Wounds Unhealed", you may notice that these musicians are very close to the perfect formula at this point.  The guitars are superb, working with the lines in shot of the drum kit, representing the midpoint of the album.  When it comes to style, this is largely based on the cold riffs by which the second wave became better known.

I still feel the vocals are very low, the instrumental block is propagated as an energy pump and unfortunately this brings power to tracks like "Whispers of Power Eternal" and "Noctis Maleficarum" but I would love for the vocals to sound a little sharper.   Another good thing about UNHOLY BAPTISM is the ambiance of natural elements to their ambiguous sound, so you find burning blocks burning in flames and ending in thunder and rain.  This really works by putting the atmosphere on the rise pushing all the bands forward.

 I love how the lyrics are teeming with the instrumental and changing the themes was a sure shot so it's not hard to have tracks like "Peering into the Flames of Enlightenment"echoing in your mind.  This is a really great album and although so many bands insist on maintaining this connection with the Norwegian roots, which for me is a bit too typical, I still believe that in this line this is a burn release in the right way.  Highlight for "Baptized in the Majesty of Satan".

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9


4 Star Rating

1. Intro - The Awakening of Forgotten Gods
2. …These Scars are Wounds Unhealed
3. Shattered
4. Withering Woods
5. Whispers of Power Eternal
6. Peering into the Flames of Enlightenment
7. Noctis Maleficarum
8. Baptized in the Majesty of Satan
Moloch - Guitars, Drum programming
Mantus - Vocals, Bass, Guitars, Drum programming
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 26 March 2023

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