We all know the old, existential adage about a tree falling in the woods. It still makes a sound, even if no one is around to hear it. But what about the sound of pure evil? What if pure, unadulterated evil made a sound? Would we hear it? The answer to that question, if you’ve listened to the newest album from American blackened death metal horde Ævangelist, is yes. Yes, pure evil does make a sound and it is as unholy and blasphemous as you could ever imagine it to be.
Ævangelist have never, ever been a band to mince their sound. They are now, and have always been, pure sonic bile, forever churning and breaking down any essence of humanity that gets passed down their collective throats. However, if it was ever possible for them to ratchet the sonic deprivation up a few notches, then they’ve done so on their fourth full-length album, Enthrall To The Void of Bliss. From the opening, prophetic guitar notes of “Arcanae Manifestia,” strummed like Hell’s own air-raid siren, Ævangelist announce their presence in the same way rabid wolves would announce theirs at a dinner party. Its a bludgeoning that will, quite literally, catch you off guard if you aren’t properly prepared for it. Be prepared. Because for the next, roughly 55 minutes or so your about to have your soul sliced away in tiny fragments, seven times over.
Throughout the album Ævangelist walk a tightrope high above a fiery inferno between the cliffs of black and death metal. Tracks like “Cloister of the Temple of Death” reek of death metal’s nasty bombast, while at one point haunted clean vocals are moaned ethereally over blast beats and Floridian-like breakdowns, later to be joined by profane screams. This theme though of pushing all boundaries is one that rides throughout the record. While Ævangelist revel in the squirming that ensues from those not trained in the digestion of the sonic black arts, they are equally concerned with creating bleak musical landscapes. Vivid portraits of apocalyptic scenarios are painted in morbid hues on several tracks. There is “Gatekeepers Scroll” with its soft tinkling of bells and those same haunted vocals on top of black metal styled guitar work, “Emanations” with it’s gagging vocals that come in and out between the dirty cracks of a mid-paced black/death hybrid, and bizarre album closer “Meditation of Transcendental Evil” with what sounds like a saxophone going through its death rites, melded together with hideous screaming and discordant, unorthodox guitar work.
It is, quite honestly, difficult to truly relay the oppressive nature of this album. While almost all metal bands want to lay some level of heaviness and angst upon you like a blanket made of sound waves, Ævangelist want to simply strangle you with it. They want to strangle you with their sound and then possibly defile the corpse. There’s really no other way to rightfully convey this cacophonous mixture of all things musically vile. You hear all the time people say that X album is the ‘soundtrack to Hell’…in this case they may actually be right. For those of you ready to take this deliciously masochistic and devilishly enjoyable journey it’s going to be one hell of a trip. Hold on tight.
Enthrall To The Void Of Bliss is out now via 20 Buck Spin and can be experienced/purchased through the 20 Buck Spin Bandcamp page.