Monday, February 27, 2012

Pact - The Dragon Lineage of Satan [2012]

While lots of black metal bands these days seem to be either spawning as or evolving into a more shoegaze/DSBM/just a simpler and slower style of black metal, Pact are, amongst hordes of slower-styled black metal bands, releasing very abrasive and fast BM. They’re a three-piece straight from the US and definitely know how to create some extremely fast yet well-thought out music, incorporating not only the typical and somewhat trite facets of said genre, but also a distant, cold style that they formulate on their own, generating a more ominous atmosphere and separating themselves from some of the more generic bands of this style.

Right from the start you’ll be smacked in the head with a blow of hostile and vehement black metal, “Litany to Satan” inaugurating the album with a relatively awkward tone that’s been heard in more Orthodox-styled BM bands like Deathspell Omega, Dodecahedron, and so forth. This style is in fact seen quite often throughout the development of the album, and it definitely adds to their music what some other, more sub-par BM bands lack in theirs. In addition to this style, there’s also use of riffs a la Inquisition, distant and ominous, feeling like they’re in a million different places at a given time yet still very compact and, as previously stated, well thought-out. Most of the album continues in a very similar style to the already described sound that they have in their riffs. There isn’t very much variation riff-wise, but almost all of them achieve what other bands long to without much success: putting you into a trance, a hypnotized state from which you don’t want to break free as you take pleasure from the evil and anger inducted in “The Dragon Lineage of Satan.” Tempo-wise, there isn’t that much very variation either, but there are segments thrown in some places that go at a slower pace. This can be seen in the intro to “Ecstasy and Illumination,” before lapsing into more uncanny and dissonant riffing.

In the drums side of things, they generally continue on a fast, blast-beat heavy style, always fast and relentless and with a pounding double-bass that doesn’t let up. The vocals are a worthy mention, with most of the album containing cruel, high, rasping vocals that certainly conjure up an evil tone. However, “Dreamless Death” sees light to a slight nuance in the vocals; namely, they become more hoarse and growled, akin to vocals on bands like Portal that create so much effect with these alone. They generally stick to one style for a given song but may alternate every once in a while to collaborate with each other and uplift the quality of the music. However much quality they may carry, the main aspect and focus of the album is obviously the guitars, which don’t disappoint and succeed in pleasing the listener.

There isn’t much else to say about this album, and with the exception of some surprises that’ll come up scarcely, the album usually remains in one style, violent and abrasive in some songs, ominous and eerie in others. It’s a very solid album overall, with practically no use of melody and an onslaught of ferocious and interesting black metal. Worth getting.



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