Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Benighted In Sodom "Hybrid Parasite Evangelistica" (2010)

Cold, dark and desolate, "Hybrid Parasite Evangelistica" plunges the listener into an Ethereal abyss of despair as dreary guitars cry out in their pain in a beautiful melodic sorrow. Benighted In Sodom is an American Black Metal band typically characteristic of what some call the "3rd wave" of American Depressive or Suicidal Black Metal. Bands like Xasthur and Leviathan. The term itself may come off a little cheesy, but it really captures the essence of dark emotions that these records explore. This one is no exception and its Ethereal aesthetics and dreamy nature, as opposed to confronting and abrasive, create a comforting juxtaposition from the grave undertone of these songs, reflected in the solitary lyrics and song titles such as "Liquid Flowing From A Slashed Wrist", hardly poetic, but reinforces the idea.

The band have put out a plethora of music, of which this is one of five albums alongside four extended plays in 2010 alone. The music on this record doesn't suffer any fate of feeling "forced" or lacking inspiration, however the five tracks do feel like a singular entity. The main focus of guitars tremolo picking their way through slow tempo leads doesn't leave much room for an expansive set of ideas, but more a singular concept that plays through a series of riffs and leads. The eerie keys lay in the shadows, building the foggy Ethereal element, but neither the keys, bass, or drums really do much to add more instrumentation or "events" in the music, these songs drag and crawl through a baron darkness lead by the guitars that on a couple of tracks shift to an acoustic gear that does little to lift the mood, despite being a break from the grueling distortion.

My biggest quarrel with this record was the vocals. Loud, harsh and snarly, these screams littered and interrupted the the flow of the songs with there loud and unapologetic presence in the mix. It would of served the immersible nature of the Ethereal chemistry the guitars and keys possessed, to bury the vocals, soak them in reverb. Instead a harsh contrast served as a stark annoyance to my ears. There is not much to be said about the production quality either, many transitions and movements vary in volume, requiring adjustments for the listener. The drums are also rather thin, distant and unexciting. Normally their roll is to guide the pace and tempo, but on this record they always felt a step behind the guitars, due to their sound and presence in the mix. For all bad said, it is not to be over emphasized, the chemistry between guitar and keys here is king and the focal point of my enjoyment of what is a dark and despairing listen with a strange sense of comfort about it.

Favorite Tracks: Dreamscape Overdose, Solarium
Rating: 5/10