1. Beyond the Hideous Glory
2.Blind Kingdom of Betrayal
3.Hymns of Death Corroded by Blood
4.Punished to a Life Sentence
5.Pestilent Banished Beasts
6.Honorless Hearts, Blood Predators
7.Knight of Malignant Sins
I’m going to start this review with a question. Has there ever been an instrument that you feel that just doesn’t fit within raw black metal? For me the use of synthesisers has been a common gripe unless done right. Few have come and few I’ve just straight up said nope to. You can be either one step from the right sound and the other from sounding like your surrounded by woodland folk doing a merry dance or on the set of the latest Lord of the Rings epic. It is here I bring you My review of Verminous Knight’s brand new offering Malignant Descent.
Now as you know my fondness of the synthesisers is quite well documented in the above paragraphs. However when this album opens on the first track being just that instrument, my heart almost sank. Now progression is key (pardon the pun) so as it delves into its more morose and macabre notes beautifully provided by Roanoke of (Xirgan, Till and Northern Solitude) I couldn’t help but feel its mournful sound transgressing through my headphones and soothing my nervousness.
Not surprising though is how track 2 opens, that slow creeping sound of the keys has given way to a ferocious layered guitar sound coupled with the rasping vocals of frontman Sanguinous Moth. The synthesiser drifts in with a slightly more epic sound to that of track one. Though this is raw black metal, the coupling how ever strange it may seem leaves me able to say it works. Not only am I actually surprised at both myself but none so much at how well it gels and has literally changed my entire opinion.
Track 3 is a much more pummelling track the guitars following a similar tempo of that of track 2, though the third track has many changes in the drumming style much more of a blast beat style on verses and choruses. It is left to the end where once again the synth makes that almost epic yet gothic ambience to the closing of the track. It is here you can feel how powerful the Drummer (Manel Woodcutter or M.W. of Amargor, Embodied Spectre and Vampyric Winter) hits his kit. Whilst not too overpowering due to the mixing of the album it provides a thunderous and heavy closing end to this track.
Track 4 is a much more slower affair, the drums while hard and pounding in places it is left to the keys and the steady tremolo picking to make this track a beauty. For this track we are treated to the guest vocals of Lord Valtgryftåke of ( 13th Temple, Grollheim, Moonrise Kingdom and Old Castles) to name but a few. His throatie yet gargled effect summoning the evil from inside himself is bubbling up from deep within. This matches the tempo almost seamlessly and its here we can see what true evil is within.
Track 5 the pace is certainly picked up from the previous with galloping drumming and a much warmer tone to the song. With a great little midsection you can really hear the warm tones of the keys matching the low rumble of the bass, this leaves the work of the guitars and vocals to provide the poisonous icy tones. This track is possibly the standout track on the album for me.
Track 6 takes us back to a much slower affair. The slow pace coupled with the pounding drums and keys sets it for a more funeral doom twist. Still raw yet venomous with the vocals and the riffs, the surprise in pace towards the closing keeps the listener gripped and embroiled in the dark shroud a great second from last track. The last final song no:7 is pure evil incarnate. Soaring riffs, chilling blast beats that climb between verses all encapsulates you. The sound is that of triumph almost a praise to the dark that their sound and message has been sent forth and delivered with such ferocity. Almost a black metal thrash to this track heightened with some elegant synth work. A great incredible way to close this black metal masterpiece.
So what else can I say… not only have I had my entire perception of the use of synth in black metal changed but rather than say that have I had it just saved? I would like to agree with the later. It would appear I’ve been more. educated and by possibly one of the best black metal super groups to date. It just goes to show.. you can still teach this old dog some new tricks.
Foras, Lord Of The Shadows.