Album Title: From the Devil's Tomb
This is the second full-length album from Weapon, a Canadian band playing black metal.
The first five seconds of Weapon's From the Devil's Tomb should immediately silence the specious complaints about the clean production on their last album, Drakonian Paradigm. The guitar tone here is pleasantly filthy, with a good layer of distortion and plenty of impact. The drums are a little clicky, which is annoying, but they're low enough in the mix that they're easy to ignore. The vocals, too, are slightly lower in the mix than they were on Drakonian Paradigm. I wish they weren't; I miss the shout-along parts, which were one of the best things about that record, and the lyrics are a bit too hard to make out on this one. All in all, though, From the Devil's Tomb has a much more fitting and powerful sound than Weapon's last album did.
The songwriting on this record is more frantic and death-metal oriented than on Drakonian Paradigm, but the band's signature melodic leads and Greek-style atmosphere still take center stage. The combination is quite effective -- songs like "Furor Divinus" are utterly savage, yet surprisingly catchy. The repetitive chorus on that one is just perfect! The vocal work is excellent throughout, and adds a tremendous amount of depth and mystery to the songs; the occult lyrics on this record are both original and unsettling, unlike most. "Vorter - 11724" is a fine example: the mid-paced riffing and solemn, echoing vocals are the perfect setup for the quick, sharp guitar work and drum fills to come. "Lefthandpathyoga" is a surprisingly emotional instrumental track, which does a fine job of changing the atmosphere without breaking it; the acoustic guitar here is great. "The Inner Wolf" is easily my favorite song on the record, though, and perhaps my favorite Weapon song in general. Its crunchy, mid-paced riffs and imperious atmosphere are chilling! The eerie chanting which opens the song is exceptional, as is the drumming throughout, especially the cymbal abuse -- this band has one of the finest drummers in metal today, and this track showcases him to the fullest! "Towards the Uncreated" deserves mention, too, as one of the best album-closers I've heard in some time. Its epic sprawl encompasses everything that's great about this band, while making room for some truly exceptional solos.
From the Devil's Tomb is one of the best albums of the year, hands down. Those who liked the first album should be overjoyed by this, and I expect it'll also convince most people who were skeptical about Drakonian Paradigm. Anyone who worships the old Greek or Czech black metal sound will play the grooves off of this record. Highest recommendations.
Standout Tracks: "Furor Divinus", "Vortex - 11724", "The Inner Wolf"