Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pandemonium - Misanthropy (2012)

Misanthropy is the aptly-titled 4th album from another sweet Polish outfit calling themselves Pandemonium, and a brief glimpse at their history reveals that they’ve been puttering around since 1990, under both this moniker and that of Domain, under which they also released 3 albums. Well, this is their newest, and the first I’ve ever heard, or heard of, this cadre of lunatics. I’m pleased to say it is also a bit indefinable, in terms of genre, which is always interesting. However, in breaking down its constituent influences, one can hear strong emanations of both death and black, but with spiritual intonations of doom. Misanthropy is an unnerving experience, bathed in black slime and leering menacingly at you from its oddly beautiful boudoir, a place wreathed in sickness and stirring with the occult. There is a heavy eastern influence, calling pyramids and ancient horrors to mind as it creeps into your consciousness, tendrils wriggling with ominous delight. The supreme evil in its avant-garde nature reminds me of the mighty Akercocke, in spirit if not sound, but more fitting comparisons might be Septic Flesh, or even more appropriately, Ava Inferi, but this is far more filthy than any of them.

Right out the straight-jacket, Misanthropy oozes atmosphere. The Black Forest is a treacherous mid-paced gust of blackened melodies and grotesque, drawling vocals, like Peter from Vader if he ate an ounce of bad mushrooms. In fact, the vocals all over this album are insane, a varied and tortured array of growls, rasps, snarls, and even some tasteful female additions. The only problem with this is often the complete lack of enunciation, as the monstrous quality makes it largely impossible to follow along with the lyric sheet, a consistent irritation. However, the vocal styles add so much to the album’s prevalent oozing decrepitude that it matters little.

God Delusion is a murky swamp of hefty, trudging riffs, really serving to draw you into the bands nightmarish world. Necro Judas oozes venom as it crawls along, the drums a show of pure finesse, the guitars rising like a cobra out of the low end muck, circling with hate radiating from it gaze. Stones Are Eternal almost has a swarthy black and roll feel to its inaugural strumming, before a chorus of madness claims your mind. The arabesque female vocals hang poignantly above the morass of ghastly growls and dry serpentine hisses, like some demonic snake charmer summoning her minions to come and devour your shivering soul. I also especially like the titular closer, a panoramic view of avian middle-eastern leads and more haunted female vocals, like a goddess of the desert soaring above the harsh, unforgiving, endless sands. I think you get the point by now, and truly, each of the 8 tracks here is like a glimpse into different rooms in the same homicidal, fecal-smeared insane asylum. It’s very tense, and very unsettling, almost inhumanly so, and these slimy depths are countered magnificently by the hefty, uplifting ‘ancient Egypt’ sections.

Misanthropy is a real treat, an absolute win for anybody interested in extreme metal with impenetrable atmosphere and an ear for stirring, poisonous melodies. I especially enjoy how unique these emanations are, truly akin only in my experience to Ava Inferi, but so much more psychotic and violent… not physically, but mentally, which is much more intrusive and poignant. They utilize the overlaying melodies and drawling, wretched vocals to maximum effect, and this stands as one of most uniquely virulent releases of the year, subtly working its way into your consciousness like a sweet sickness, until you can’t help but yield to its prevalent, diseased charm.

8.5 / 10 - Beware the Swamp