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Zardens - Blackness Unfolds

Blackness Unfolds
by Tom Colyer at 03 September 2015, 6:15 PM

There is a squishy part of my body reserved for both Blackened Death Metal and Melodic Black Metal. Either of these styles, done well, make it throb with gushing joy and ZARDENS seem to have poked me in that place with a nice pointy stick.

The Belgian Blackened Death machine released their first full-length album in 2013, and not too long after, founding member Warnacht, found himself with several less band members than anticipated. This didn't deter him though and after gathering the right combination of musicians together, he has let loose their second album “Blackness Unfolds”. I know that you are probably thinking that is one of the most a-typical Metal album titles you could come up with and you are damn right. The whole album, in fact, is full of song titles that feel like they have just been spat out of some name generator geared up for people that have a penchant for violence and some mild fetish for Satanism.

Don't let that deceive you though, as the music itself is great and ticks all of the right boxes for this genre. Opening up with a good old bit of melodic guitar twankery, drenched in tremolo and reverb, certainly sets a pace for the album. This is quickly pounded into oblivion by “The Berserker”, and strangely enough, I can't get NILE out of my head whenever I listen to this song. It is very reminiscent to “Lashed To The Slave Stick” or just about anything from “Annihilation Of The Wicked”. The only thing that stops it sounding like a perfect match is the depth on the vocals. Unfortunately, they just don't quite have the same throaty, full of balls feel that you get with Karl Sanders or Dallas Toler-Wade.

The rest of the album is much more Blackened than this though, and there are even light dustings of Thrash in songs like “Slave To The Moon” that really help to give the band a good sense of something slightly different about them. I guess it's this mixed with the elements of Black & Death Metal that tickles my squishy place. I'm a sucker for things that are dark and angry, even when they are fairly generic. This is definitely not a simple Metal by numbers job, however some clear care has been taken in writing the album.

I would not say that this is a masterpiece by any means though, and there is still a long way for ZARDENS to go before they are on the same kind of plateau as bands like NILE or BEHEMOTH. This is maybe not an album for die-hard fans of either Black or Death Metal, but it could fit nicely into the tastes of someone like me that flippantly bounces between the two like a bi-polar pogo stick.

3 Star Rating

1. Battle Rite
2. The Berserker
3. Reborn
4. Afterlife
5. Slave To The Moon
6. Empty Skies
7. Lifeblood
8. Days Of Doom
9. Among The Dead
10. Sadness
Warnacht - Lead Guitars
Morholt - Vocals
Dimitri - Bass
Flocky Hardy - Guitars
Kevin Facella - Drums
Record Label: Satanath Records


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