(This is Vonlughlio’s review of the latest album by Italy’s Blasphemer.)
This time around I have the opportunity to do a small write-up about the Italian band Blasphemer’s third album, The Sixth Hour, which was released on January 24th via Candlelight Records.
This project was given birth in 1998 by Simone Brigo (Guitars) and Paolo Maniezzo (vocalist up to 2017) with the intention to express their artistic vision, and their thoughts and views of organized religion, hate, and death, in a Brutal Death Metal setting.
It was not until 2002 that they released their debut demo, Life Kills, and subsequently they did some splits in 2003 and 2006, but it was when they released their debut album On the Inexistence of God that I found out about them.
I was still living in the Dominican Republic then and remember listening to this BDM masterpiece and feeling that I was listening to something special that would stand the test of time. The music was fast, straightforward, and delivered with precision, and included some amazing vocals. Most of the scene loved the release and held it with positive thoughts, and for me it’s no doubt one of the best debuts for any band in the genre.
Two years later they released their EP entitled Devouring Deception, which continued from where their debut ended and showcased their finesse in the genre while expressing their disregard of the conception of God and organized religion. They even included a cover of Broken Hope‘s “I am God” that I truly believed was an amazing cover.
After this release there was silence from the band, and we fans had to wait 6 years for their second full-length offering, Ritual Theophagy. This time around they changed their music, showcasing more tech, death, and black elements than on their previous efforts. Also, it would mark the last recording with their front man Mr. Maniezzo, who I think did a fantastic job.
The second album was the start of a change for the group, and I believe they handled the transition perfectly (which I will talk about in a bit). After their vocalist left the band, Blasphemer could have looked for a new one, but instead they decided to look within, and bassist Claude De Rosa (Modus Delicit, ex-Septycal Gorge) would become their frontman/bassist. They have a solid core who understand each other and they wanted to keep it that way, and for me that deserves respect. At the time they had been joined by Nicolò Brambillia (Ekpyrosis) as a second guitarist and later by Davide Cazziol as their permanent drummer.
So the four-piece was complete in 2017 when they released their one-song promo “Jesus is Stripped of his Garments“, and literally showed they had changed to Death Metal, leaving all other aspects from their previous releases. For me I was somewhat in shock at the change, mainly because I wanted the old ways, but must say that I liked the song and was open to hearing more.
Then in late 2019 the announcement was made of their new label and details for their third album, The Sixth Hour. The cover art is beautiful, though I admit that I miss their old logo a lot. But again, this was part of their change of style, and I respect the band for staying true to themselves and pushing forward with how they wanted to express their art. So, I heard the first single and that kept me intrigued and I wanted to listen to the whole album.
In short, the band did a fantastic job in creating The Sixth Hour, from the cover to the lyrics to the music. Everything is tied together to deliver great death metal in 42 minutes, making it a gem of 2020. The guitar riffs are the driving force in this record, well-conceived and well-executed and one of the main keys to keeping the listener engaged every moment. Mr. Brigo and Mr. Brambillia are great musicians who know what they want and execute flawlessly in each of the 12 songs.
The bass and drums are also beautifully executed, and with the production you can hear how well they complement each other in each of the 12 tracks. The vocals also fit perfectly, and I can’t see anyone else being the vocalist for Blasphemer now; they made the right call to have Mr. De Rosa take the position.
Overall, this is a great album to start the year with, and it’s been constantly in my playlist So if you have the chance, listen to the whole thing below, and if you can, please support this project.