Much of metaldom is swimming in year-end lists and either reflecting upon or exploring the glorious flood of music that engulfed our heads in 2016, but there are already plenty of signs that the flood will only continue in 2017. Our calendar for January is already marked with hotly anticipated releases, and one of those (circled twice in red) is the debut album by the Australian project Ignis Gehenna. The album’s name is Baleful Scarlet Star, and it’s scheduled for release on January 9 by the Australian label Séance Records.
During the first week in October I came upon the opening song on the album, “Serpent Oracle”, and wrote about it in a Shades of Black post at our site. I was initially drawn to the music by the fantastic album cover created by Vhan Artworks, and then the song turned out to have an equally striking effect. The intro is mid-paced and dramatic, and it remains grand and bombastic even after the eruption comes. There’s magnetic bass work in the song, as well as extravagant vocal viciousness, and the savage riffing is heart-swelling stuff with a triumphant, panoramic sweep. The fallen angel rises in terrible glory through this track.
Today we’re fortunate to bring you the album’s title song, which immediately follows “Serpent Oracle” in the album’s running order. It’s just as powerful and multifaceted as its predecessor.
For those who may only now be discovering Ignis Gehenna, the project was started in 2007 by Erebus Enthroned singer Nihilifer. For the initial works, lyrics were crafted by Archfiend from the U.S., but Nihilifer does everything on this full-length debut — and does everything exceptionally well.
“Baleful Scarlet Star” summons a sensation of chaos and fury from the start, its slashing riffs and the rapid mortar fire of the percussive instruments matching the scalding ferocity of the vocals. Yet Nihilifer wastes little time in also interweaving the beginnings of an intense melodic theme that’s unmistakably grim yet also majestic — in the way that wolves emerging from the black of night are majestic, even as their hunger may be life-threatening.
As the song moves through changes of pace and pattern, that dual aspect of stunning savagery and frightful grandeur persists. As is true throughout the album, the nimble bass work adds an element of fascination to the dense, immersive layering of sounds, and the soaring melody that takes center stage in the final minute moves the mood of the song into something inspirational and gloriously defiant.
The full track list for Baleful Scarlet Star is as follows:
1. Serpent Oracle
2. Baleful Scarlet Star
3. Edict of Blood
4. Melas Oneiroi
5. Litany unto Thanateros
For more information about the album, check the links below. And if you missed “Serpent Oracle”, we’ve included a stream of that song along with our premiere of the title track.