Pestiferous Hymns – Rev. I-I-XXXIII
World Terror Committee
Yet another black metal band formed all the way back in the early 90s, Eternity hails from Germany, with Pestiferous Hymns being their third full length album in their rather long history, and this album being the first that I hear of them. Despite their German roots, as Pestiferous Hymns will show, Eternity‘s musical style (at least on this album) will stick closer to what Swedish bands like Ondskapt and Watain have crafted over the years, especially with their most recent Lawless Darkness.
The polished production quality that is on Pestiferous Hymns are immediately noticeable as the band introduces their art to the listener with an acoustic guitar opening on Down to the Southern Abyss, a prelude to the band’s brand of black metal, a nice fusion of melody, atmosphere and aggression as one would come to experience soon enough. The large melodic hooks are present right from the start of the album, and these easily captivate the listener, especially with that somewhat depressive and melancholic mood the band has emanated so far. But A. Krieg’s vocals catch the listener rather unaware as he brings in the first signs of aggression with his gruff vocals, helping to increase that tension in the atmosphere by a bit. The way he drags out the lyrics at times remind listener of the skin-crawling, tortured style that Marduk‘s Mortuus likes to utilise, though the dark atmosphere is somewhat more reminiscent and more similar to Watain‘s recent output.
Unlike most aggressive black metal releases that hit the listener right in the face from the beginning, Eternity chooses to slowly build up the right mood on Pestiferous Hymns, evident from not only the riffing style of guitarists M. Alicious and Diabolus, but also in the songwriting and song arrangements on the album. M. Alicious and Diabolus often display a rather wide range of influence in their playing, and at times the riffs remind listeners of Finnish bands like Sargeist and Behexen, and this certainly works well for me. Each of the songs on the album as well, often see the band slowly ascending to the climax rather than being complete blast-fests. For example, Temple of Flesh is a track that remains mid-paced throughout, with seemingly no sense of urgency from the band at all, yet maintaining that somewhat abrasive edge in the music throughout. One other thing that I liked was how the bass of A. Krieg on the album remains audible, with each of the instruments on the album mixed in a balanced manner, and while nothing technical here, the bass certainly helps in providing that low-end growl that keeps the listener enchanted throughout, at times even providing a somewhat calming and soothing melody beneath all the chaos above.
To be really honest though, Pestiferous Hymns doesn’t present anything new that hasn’t been done by other bands already, with the closest in terms of stylistics being Watain‘s Lawless Darkness. However, Eternity has still managed to pull this off well, making Pestiferous Hymns an enjoyable album.