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Waxen – Blasphemer in Celestial Courts Award winner

Blasphemer in Celestial Courts
by James Brizuela at 06 February 2020, 11:17 PM

WAXEN, a solo black metal band from Wyoming, has had a storied career under solo mastermind, Toby Knapp. Among being revered as one of the best guitarists in the states, Toby Knapp has found himself in a multitude of bands. His solo outfit, WAXEN, having formed in 2004, have had a myriad of full-length albums dating back to 2006. WAXEN has returned to the fold to release their new full-length black metal offering, “Blasphemer in Celestial Courts”. While WAXEN may possess the sounds of the typical black metal band, there is nothing typical about the sounds in “Blasphemer in Celestial Courts”.

Drawing on the sounds of thrash, neo-classicism, old school metal, and black metal, WAXEN brings forth a raucous sound. Although there is a creepy and atmospheric sound that emanates from the beginning of “Lilithian Gates”, the track immediately pummels you with its thrash heavy sound. The guitar riffing sounds almost like TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, but a lot more devilish in nature. I love how the opening just focuses completely on musical prowess, before slamming you with the vile vocals of Toby Knapp. The black metal sound mixes into this old school feel, but a certain elevation is brought forth with the shredding guitar solo.

There is a lot going on with the tempo changes in the music. You get those old school elements that lead into the prototypical black metal sound, but then there are hints of power metal shredding that come alive. “Child Scryer” is a chock full of those many elements of tempo changes and black metal fierceness. There is a long draw on the instrumentation with the harrowing vocals coming in ever so slightly. The atmospheric elements of background talking and sounds effects of some sort of machinery moving about seal off the picture of black metal dread. The title track, “Blasphemer in Celestial Courts” has a very interesting intro that is far removed from the demonic sounds of the rest of the album. A small interlude to throw you off before returning to the blackened hatred of the normal sound.

The track showcases some more tempo changes before blowing you away with the wailing guitar solos. The musical prowess of this album is a thing to behold, but at times I feel the vocals fall by the wayside a little. I know that certain black metal vocals are made to sound that way, but it shouldn’t be less produced than the rest of the album. That would be my only negative in an otherwise impressive album. If nothing else, you should bask before the impeccable musicianship of WAXEN. From the wailing guitar solos, shredding guitar riffing, beautifully constructed melodies, and downright amazing structure, “Blasphemer in Celestial Courts” is a monster of an album. The old school metal elements carried by the vile black metal thematic elements blend so well. Bang your heads to this one.
Songwriting: 10
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Lilithian Gates
2. Child Scryer
3. The Oriens of Astaroth
4. Blapshermer in Celestial Courts
5. Dreaming in Enochian
6. The Abyss Between Man and God
Toby Knapp – All Instrumentals, Vocals
Record Label: Moribund Records


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Edited 25 September 2022

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