To quote the great Philip Anselmo, it used to be that bands culled their influences from a whole host of different sources. These days, however, bands will consider just 1 or 2 of their favorite bands, and use that to set their creative wheels spinning, leading to derivation in music more often than not. Now, I don’t know who exactly this Canadian black/death metal band take direct influence from, but I can hear a whole host of similarities to a wide array of my favorite projects, such as Morbid Angel, Nile, Melechesh, Belphegor, Behemoth, and Absu, with more traditional emanations of black metal darkness circa Watain, and elements of straightforward, cutting violence that will whet the britches of the Goatwhore crowd. Though redolent of all of these at one time or another, Weapon are pleasingly distinct. This is very black, very occult metal with both chops and personality, displaying a serrated wickedness that keeps pace with anyone else in the blackened death sphere, whilst smoldering in its own unique brand of punishing evil.
The genre line is very blurred here, as the timber of the riffing is certainly rooted primarily in blackened aesthetics, but the innate brutality and cunning precision belie a core of palpable deathly aggression. What is most tangible here, though, is the level of care and malevolence that went into Embers and Revelations, the band’s 3rd album. Somehow they’ve escaped my notice up to this point, and likely would have continued to, had this not been sent over by the good folk at Relapse Records. They’re on my map now, though, and beyond that, have escalated easily to the ranks of the above-listed bands, and will likely appeal to fans of the occult emanations of Belphegor and Melechesh most of all. At a hair over 37 minutes, Embers and Revelations is not a particularly lengthy album, but it nevertheless thrives on differentiation, providing a variety of dastardly spells culled from the same necrotic tome, thus feeling consistently fresh without betraying the overarching motif of resplendent serpentine darkness.
The First Witnesses of Lucifer builds up the atmosphere, slowly raising the pulse into a mid-paced march, and finally into a celeritous hail of machine-gun fire, summoning an array of suitably evil riffs, and consistently firing off tenebrous, poignant leads into the gathering inferno. Vanguard of the Morning Star wastes little time leading the assault against the purulent angels of God, unleashing a panoramic blasting deicide that is as melodiously eloquent as it is vicious, and the band are indeed very melodic throughout, the riffing truly possessed of subtlety, flair, and unrestrained passion. Crepuscular Swamp, Unhinged Swine (love the title) crawls like some filthy, malevolent serpent through progressions of muddy chugging, rising up in melodic evolution before our very ears, crafting seismic riffing totems that rise up above the muck like demonic stairways. Liber Lilith opens with a stark crisp beauty before unleashing one of the blackest, most violent musical storms I’ve heard in a long time, an immensely satisfying and fibrous pummeling. Lyrics are quite hedonistic throughout, sometimes well written, other times endearingly campy, both of which my twisted psyche enjoys quite a lot.
‘Vile temptress, Goddess ov Drakon! Initiator of perversion in mankind!
Let the phalli of murderers glow within Thy orifice of defecation.
O, ravishing Queen of noxious blood! He who repudiates Thy pulsating cunt,
Shall yield to strangulation by the severed, umbilical cord of a fetus’
Grotesque Carven Portal is an interim piece dripping with majestic atmospherics, a short lead guitar ceremony flinging bloody mist to the skies, leading into the violent whirlwind that is the titular Embers and Revelations, which boasts some of the best riffing of the entire album as it careers through dry, windy stomping and gusts of lead guitar ecstasy. Disavowing Each in Aum is another muscular display of the band’s innate feel for contrasting dynamics, a perfect flow of near-cosmic elegance, a whole created thermosphere of thick, interweaving riffs and full-bodied, grandiloquent bass lines. The closing number Shahenshah is another webwork of atmospheric layering, absolutely dark, absolutely majestic, stirring the heart with its pure, epic malevolence.
On top of being a gorgeous batch of tunes, Embers and Revelations also boasts a fine production job, all elements wrapped together in a warm, seamless morass of beautiful depravity. All the tones are appreciably rich, with that of the bass being one of the best I’ve ever heard. It melds in just below the guitars, perfectly audible, pulsing and bulbous with appreciable depth and enough low-end to provide the earthly counterpoint to the soaring riffs. Drumming is solid throughout, and of course the set sounds wonderful, clear and punchy with no excessive clicking. Vetis Monarch’s venomous vocals are not unique, but he provides a satisfying mid-range growl that suits the music to a tee, and he does so with a level of pronunciation beyond most vocalists of the style.
As should be obvious by now, this album has knocked me right the fuck out. I haven’t heard such a stirring marriage of these influences in a long time, since the blackened desert twang of Glorior Belli infected my life, and the band have immediately ascended to a throne comparable in my imagined empire to the aforementioned Absu, Belphegor, and Melechesh, surpassing even Goatwhore. The blackened death armies of the Reaper Division have found a new general. Time will be the judge of Weapon’s lasting impact, but for now I’m beyond stoked to have found this jewel, one of the most pleasant surprises of the year, as it slipped in right under my radar and broke my spirit with ravaging melodious might. I won’t go so far as to call it a masterpiece, not yet, but it’s pretty fucking flawless, and it’s growing on me with every listen. You owe it to yourself to check out Embers and Revelations, as fine an entry into the genre as has ever been released, and one with its own unique, undeniable spirit, seething with glorious venom as it hungrily and seductively wriggles through your defenses and slips its fangs right into your neck. Don’t worry, the transformation is painless, and soon enough, you’ll be one of us.