Blaze of Perdition – Upharsin

Polish extreme metal lords, Blaze of Perdition, stepped into the big league in 2020 when they signed to Metal Blade for the release of their fifth album. It was a career highlight and a sure sign of respect in the industry towards a band that started their craft in 2004. Fast forward twenty years, and they stand poised to release their sixth full-length effort. There’s no confusion about their sound, their ideology, or their purpose – they play blasphemous black metal that will scare off anyone who thinks of the genre as something you can dip into as your mood dictates.

You have an idea what to expect as you hover over the play button, but opener, ‘W kwiecie rozłamu’, strikes your head like a match against sandpaper before you can blink. Picture all artillery guns blazing at full throttle from the first note in an act of audio obliteration that would make Necrophobic proud. The sixteenth-note drum patterns calm things down a notch at forty seconds, but this is still at the higher end of the velocity range. Listen to the spittle of Sonneillon’s vocal projections – he sounds like a man enacting vengeance for a righteous cause that the police cannot solve. Sporadic flashes of doom penetrate through the mix, yet the guitarists plug the gaps with fast phrasing the way a plumber plugs a leaking pipe in a toilet. Finally, the band contemplate something other than murder with a slowdown at 03:45, but this does not last long enough for your brain to readjust to the new tempo before the band set off again like harriers. The rhythms become more tangible at the five-minute mark with harmonised melodies fighting with the rapid plectrum action on the lower strings.

‘Przez rany’ has more respect for its listener and more wisdom in its planning stage before the band launch into their next attack. The dissonant guitar chords hiss like an electric fence keeping wild animals at bay from a secluded human habitat. How does Sonneillon gather so much phlegm in his voice? You can admire the efforts of the band to write an anthemic song at such an eviscerating level of intensity. But few artists, other than Emperor, can conquer this paradox.

As with most black metal, this music aims to replicate the speed of a particle accelerator. It wants to keep you in a constant state of agitation, but the mind can override this state of being and write it off as boring and monotonous. Examining a song like ‘Niezmywalne’ in isolation is almost enjoyable – the fury and determination to overmaster everything that can stop you from becoming the Übermensch is a noble aim. For all the brandishing of swords, black metal is the nearest thing to blitzkrieg warfare in metal music. You can remove your gas mask and breathe at the beginning of its follow up track, ‘Architekt’. This is like an atonal version of Jeff Walker fronting Carcass at their hissing best. Drummers will enjoy listening to the rudiments as isolated tracks, but there’s nothing original in this song once it gets into top gear.

Forty minutes should be tolerable for an album of this nature. It will be to those that love the clean blade of black metal. Those that prefer a rough element to the barbaric audio assault will be less impressed. The prospect of waiting for two hours at a rural train station with no music to enjoy or book to read – on a wind-swept platform – is more appealing than a nine-minute closing track, ‘Młot, miecz i bat’. Inevitably, it starts like a mining operation and does not relent until 02:25. Do the guitarists know how to palm-mute their strings?

Blaze of Perdition want to produce an epic feeling of readiness for war, and they succeed to some extent. But how many infantrymen can stand forty minutes of a sergeant barking in their face before they start to resent him.



Release Date: 19/04/2024

Record Label: Metal Blade

Standout tracks: Przez rany; Architekt

Suggested Further Listening: Gaerea – Mirage (2022), Ouija – Fathomless Hysteros (2022), …And Oceans – As in Gardens, So in Tombs (2023)