(Hope Gould returns to NCS with the following review of a new album by the Montréal extreme metal band Profane Order, which is due for release tomorrow.)
Look, I get it. Some genres aren’t exactly known for their ingenuity. Whether to you it’s called war metal, bestial black metal, or it’s just some grind-black-death bastardization, this style is often written off as ‘uninspired noise’ by even the most extreme metal connoisseurs. Reliably cacophonous, always chaotic and peppered with pick-scrapes aplenty, I find it most effective to approach new releases in the genre with criteria of how memorable the full listen really is. While Profane Order certainly don’t give a fuck what you think, their second full-length is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression.
One Nightmare Unto Another is set for release for tomorrow, January 27th. The aptly titled sophomore album ushers in an entirely new nightmare featuring the Montreal duo’s most uncompromising work yet, full of spastic nuances you’re not going to hear on “just another war metal record.” Illusory and Olcadóir whet their blades on the old school death metal edge they really cut their teeth on in 2019’s well-received Slave Morality. Their first full-length was a bit of a shift from the straight-ahead bestial assault on the preceding EP but called back the grinding crust punk structures of their 2016 demo. (Seriously, it’s worth visiting every nightmare the band has cooked up). Material this ruthless often works best in small but heavy hits; even Slayer’s immortal Reign in Blood clocks in just shy of twenty-nine minutes. Profane Order tap into the same dark ancient magick, opening the throttle on a twenty-five minute wholly satisfying hellride.
Wasting no time on introductions, One Nightmare Unto Another fires into a torrent of wild riffing with the anticipated battery of pick-scrapes. Right from the first track, One Nightmare meets my “memorable criteria” – a rare bestial metal album with hooks that immediately sink themselves into my brain: “In the shadows of the paaaaast…” The vocals blister and seethe, a notable shift from the reverb-drenched Blasphemy gurgles on the preceding material. Still, the Ross Bay gödfathers are invoked by some terrifyingly cavernous growls that often back the otherwise mostly discernible vocals. The Black Witchery-like snarls pierce through the blind terror, adding to the renewed vigor of attack. The crisp production allow the vocals to sit comfortably where the full weight of their malice can be felt without being devoured by the aural onslaught that rages on behind them. I’m a fan of the deranged yelling on the last track, “Of Bile and Malice,” where Illusory nearly rips out his goddamn throat to exsanguinate acrid filth – a delightfully gruesome affair.
The duo has a tight handle on the core grooves of old school death metal, marrying them with a neatly articulated riffcraft and ceaselessly brutal song structures a la Axis of Advance. Discernible and inverted riffs pulsate at ’90s Angelcorpse speed, bringing the old school groove that also adds a helluvalot of return appeal and memorability to One Nightmare. Even the least diehard eardrums will pick out riff after riff, and rest assured there is always one coming around the corner. Some will stick with you, like the explosive breakout riff about two minutes and forty seconds into “Pernicious Scum.” The same track captures fleeting moments of Archgoat doom that offer momentary respite in a thick river of sludge before the beatings recommence. The guitar tone is thorny and dense, allowing the brief yet entirely unhinged Oath of Black Blood solos to float atop with ease, such as the scorchers on “Suppression” and “Seething.”
Grooves are hammered out from fills as the drums barrel along with Conqueror volatility. They lead the charge on a tight rhythm section brimming with muscle, restlessly attacking the path forward as the nightmare unravels. The bass throbs in unison with sadistic control, undulating and writhing under the guitars like a demonic tongue hellbent on bringing you over the edge. Even still, the result is not a claustrophobic wall of noise. Skeptics will be delighted to find plenty of headbanging death metal moments, such as the mid-paced chugging in “A Somber Passage” and in the effective pause before the explosive last bit of “Suppression.”
Profane Order have woven a nightmare you’ll want to revisit, where the matured production and riff-focused songwriting add some healthy accessibility. Fans who have waited since 2019 will be scrambling to flip the record over again, and I’d be willing to bet the genre-naysayers will, too. The album will be released on limited edition LP’s, CD’s, and cassettes, featuring art and a gorgeous new logo by Nether Temple Design. So, get your affairs in order, grab your preferred format, and prepare for the attack accordingly.
Stream the first two tracks of One Nightmare Unto Another today. Stay vigilant for the full force to be unleashed tomorrow.