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Sacrificial Vein - Black Terror Genesis review

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Band: Sacrificial Vein
Album: Black Terror Genesis
Style: Avantgarde black metal
Release date: March 2024

01. The Blood Of The Wicked Shall Entomb The Earth
02. Throne Of Perversion
03. Rites Of Malignancy
04. Apparition [feat. Gage Olson]
05. The Unbearable Stench Of Malediction
06. Cruciatum Aeternum
07. Abjection [feat. Elliot Merriman]
08. Wombs Of Depravation
09. Nil

Dissonant black metal was, at one point, at the avant-garde of metal. But full decades have passed since then, and now it's a sound that has became quite commonplace in metal. Pushing it back towards the avant-garde is something that only the brave do. Sacrificial Vein show some of that bravery.

Though I wasn't exactly into metal back when it dropped, it still is quite a mind boggling fact that it's been two decades since Deathspell Omega's Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice. I wouldn't necessarily call it the be all end all of dissonant black metal, or at least of how it became a dominant sound in black metal in the 21st century, but it is a colossal landmark. The two decades since have seen the sound become, while not exactly stagnant, commonplace enough that it isn't novel to know what to expect from an album in the style. Dissonant black metal albums still become some of my favorites metal ones in their respective years, and objectively most of them are really well made despite the receding novelty of their sound, and yet I'm even more surprised to find such an album that actually does make the sound feel novel.

Ok, sure, a lot of what Sacrificial Vein do on their debut isn't too far off from the genre's canon. It's suffocating and nauseating specifically because of how it uses its dissonance. The blast beat-led pummellers that can have a touch of death metal alternate with more atmospheric-focused passages, and it is that focus on atmosphere that goes so well with how the dissonance makes it feel. That's the modus operandi, and many albums have become absolute favorites by tackling that alone. Sometimes you just need your black metal to sound harrowing and overwhelming. Black Terror Genesis sounds harrowing and overwhelming, but there's something more to it, because the "terror" part in its title is really built on.

"Apparition" (and by extension also "Abjection") is the kind of interlude that's used as breathing room between more intense halves, and it functions as that indeed, but there's something very odd about the percussion on it and how the harrowing vocals and guitar melodies work on top of it, something that's kind of like a less dreamlike Emptiness or a sparser Terra Tenebrosa. And that's just one moment that stood out to me, because for the most part what sets Sacrificial Vein apart is the elements they weave into the canon dissonant black metal. Those include some intricate songwriting that takes it closer to something like Serpent Column or Dodecahedron, while the element that stuck with me the most are the deranged vocals, ones that are grounded enough to still work with the music but somehow work to activate fright in the lizard brain in me. Vocalist Barclay Olson also does vocals for the death metal group Nothingness but they sound nothing like Nothingness. It's nor necessarily just the vocal performance in itself, impressive as it is when it ranges from screams to whispers to laughter, but also how the layering of the vocals work to enhance the terrifying aspect of the album's atmosphere.

Black Terror Genesis might not be avant-garde in the most obvious or overt ways, and a lot of it is still grounded in canon, but it still pulled the rug from under my feet in ways few albums of its kind have.

Written on 06.04.2024 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 13 users
12.04.2024 - 20:51
poring dark
I started to listen to this because of the enticingly written review. And yes, the terror aspect and deranged vocals are as promised.

Not sure I like it; I stopped every two or three songs because it was too much. But kept coming back to check if it was as... I had remembered and eventually made it through the entire album.

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