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Vincent Crowley – Beyond Acheron Award winner

Vincent Crowley
Beyond Acheron
by Ricardo “Lebzul” Brenes at 15 July 2021, 3:59 PM

I have been a fan of true Black Metal for a very long time. When I say Black Metal I mean the real thing, not the “the true sound (let’s call it the old school Bathory sound, to clarify)” as it would be pointed out by modern know-it-alls. True Black Metal is dedicated to the worship of the self, of the nature of darkness and evil, filth and rebellion. Whatever else, even if it shares the same sound, you may call what you want, but it is just not it. I was introduced to ACHERON by my good friend Jerry Vicek (what ever happened to him?) from Real Sickness ‘Zine when we were tape-traders back in the early 90’s. I wrote a letter to the band and got all the paperwork to join the Order of the Evil Eye. I must have been 17 or so. I still have a lot of those papers I got. I still live by most of “The Standards of the Strong”. I was blown away by “The Rites of the Black Mass” and I still play the album a lot. I learned how to play many of the songs in it and I enjoyed much when other bands like OCCULT would play the cover of “Thou Art Lord” and the likes of BATHYM and SATHANAS were also making some great Black/Death, preserving root sound, while others like DEICIDE or MORBID ANGEL where just spewing it out at full speed. Although I personally feel that ACHERON had a great career and that their whole discography would be mandatory, to me, they could never do better that that first album.

This album opens with the mandatory dark ambient passage of a church bell and a heartbeat that grows stronger every time, symbolism for a new dark birth. The intro is not too long and yields pass to “Where no Light Shines”, starting a bit melodic and then falling into an already well-known trademark of Vincent’s music, mid-paced, evil metal. Expect no complex riffing or blast beats, but rather deep-toned guitar riffing, on the edge of doom, strong bass lines and that slow double bass and snare beat that just keeps things on the edge of old school death metal purity. Vincent’s vocals haven not changed much I’d say from what it was like in ACHERON, I can clearly make out the lyrics. I specially enjoy the doubled vocals as they are not used in abuse, but just in the appropriate measure in order to add and extra pinch of evil at the precise moment. They do, lack the fast paced almost punk injected from INFIDEL REICH in favor of a much darker growl. The song ends up with a very nice melodic solo, fading into total darkness.

My Eternal Vow” and “La Muerte” follow, two songs with an even slower pace, very strong lines give you that true old school obscure sound, simple, straight and crushing. “My Eternal Vow” includes some use of a church organ, providing an even more fitting atmosphere to one of the doomiest songs in this album, the second part of the song brings up true heavy-doom evoking riffs with again, great melodic soloing. The lyrical side is (as usual) focused of evil worship and spell craft. “La Muerte” sounds almost as part two of the previous song, made me bring to mind great old songs from the early ACHERON like “One with Darkness”, true old-school. Again, the use of background keyboards only at certain times, adds up to the whole to create a true classic. It feels like Doom, but it is just Black/Death in its purest form.

My favorite track on this album is “Bring Forth the Dead”. It starts with soloed bass lines that give way to pounding double bass and most likely, the fastest song on this album. It is also, the most. I just love the guitar work on this song. As it is a faster song, the singing also gets just a notch higher, giving this track a lot more of a Black Metal approach. Still, I would say it’s more melodic death metal than black, but perhaps I am just getting too technical. Great balance of elements, heavy, evil, powerful. Another doom-filled song would be “Masquerade du Macabre”. Vincent uses a more varied vocal range along the composition that provide a better flow of things in a track that was made to be heavy, to be strong, like Satan’s fist smashing your soul. Nice melodic guitar work again. The drums sound very organic, very there with the all, I like the mix, there is strength in it.

The album ends up with “Farewell at Death’s Door”, another song that follows the same Blackened/Death Doom path of its predecessors and takes you to the “Outro”, a beating heart now connected to a monitor, ending in death. The whole album is then encircled in a life and death cycle concept. I have very few words to say to sum things up as you should have noticed by now that this is something I truly enjoy. Slow-paced metal, with a strong taste of the old school, deep growls and blasphemous sound, simple and catchy, but evil as hell. Darkness made music. I love it. It brought me back to the early days of ACHERON, a lot, so honestly, Vincent and his bandmates didn’t go that far beyond, but to me, they went deep within.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Intro (Beyond Acheron)
2. Where No Light Shines
3. My Eternal Vow
4. La Muerte
5. Bring Forth the Dead
6. Masquerade Du Macabre
7. Behind this Smokescreen
8. Farewell at Death’s Door
9. Outro
Vincent Crowley – Vocals, bass
Art Taylor - Guitars
Ryan Arter - Drums
Record Label: Odium Records


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Edited 23 March 2023

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