(Today we begin a series of guest posts that we’ve received in response to THIS INVITATION — an invitation that’s still open for anyone who’s interested. We’ll be running a guest piece every day in the order received, unless the post is especially time-sensitive. We begin with a review by NCS reader (and blogger) BreadGod of the new album by Australia’s Elysian Blaze.)
Written by: BreadGod
This album has quite the history behind it. You know how Valve likes to take its sweet ass time with some of its games (*cough* Episode 3 *cough*)? Yeah, Elysian Blaze is sort of like that. Blood Geometry was completed all the way back in 2007 and was slated for release in 2008, but that was pushed back to 2009. Then 2010. Then 2011. The band’s only member, Mutatiis, is a fussy perfectionist. Just as the album was about to be released, he would see something wrong with it and go change it. He eventually stopped being so fussy and released it in 2012. To quote Gabe Newell, “Hopefully, it will have been worth the wait.”
The first thing that amazed me was the cover art (by Matt R. Martin): An Aztec pyramid sitting atop a frigid mountain under a dark, foreboding sky. Another thing that amazed me was just how massive the album was. It comes on two disks for a combined length of two hours. I start to get bored if an album lasts more than forty minutes. Those two hours better be worth it.
Right from the start, I knew the atmosphere would be top-notch. Elysian Blaze has always been known for creating a thick, dark atmosphere, and I believe it’s better on here than on all the previous albums. Since this album draws a great deal of influence from funeral doom metal, there are long stretches where the music is either played very slowly or is very minimalistic. I’ve never been a fan of funeral doom metal, but I love the solemn, almost completely quiet bits between the black metal. It builds up anticipation for when the hatred begins again.
The dark piano, organs, and other symphonic elements have always been a mainstay of the band’s music, and they’re really at the top of their game on this album. They further amplify the morose atmosphere the band is trying to create. The drums, bass, and vocals remain unchanged from the previous albums. The drums still play their slow rhythms with some blast beats thrown in on occasion, the bass still lurks in the background, and the vocals remain those ghostly rasps and howls. I’m perfectly fine with this. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
With the previous albums, I’ve had a hard time trying to make out the guitars. The other elements seemed to overshadow them. On this album, they stand out as clear as day, and they are glorious. They still play the furious tremolo riffs of black metal and the slow, crushing riffs of funeral doom metal, but they also play these high-soaring riffs that sound almost triumphant, like a bird that has been freed from its cage after countless years. Hell, despite the despair the album exudes, some of these riffs sound downright optimistic.
I’m glad Blood Geometry turned out more like Half Life 2 than Duke Nukem Forever. This album may be two hours long, but every second is worth it. It’s like reading a really long, excellent novel. It may take a long time to get through, but you’ll be a better person for doing so. There’s no doubt that this album will make it on my best-of-the-year list. Now I’m wondering if Necrophagist will release a new album sometime soon.