22 May 2012
by Tom Dare
Brief Guide On How To Make Black Metal In 2012:
1) Pick your basic influence. This should be a Scandinavian band active in the early 1990s or Bathory.
2) Decide whether to A) simply rip off said band or B) do something new. If A), you’re done. If B), move on to number 3.
3) Liberally draw inspiration from a French black metal band.
4) Add in one or more of the following elements to make yourself immediately distinct: post-rock, doom, crusty hardcore, prog, Neurosis, noise, electronica, instruments/melodies/rhythms distinct to your country of origin
It’s a recipe that’s served Mutilation Rites very well on their debut album Empyrean.
Mutilation Rites follow the recipe in roughly the following way:
1) Use Darkthrone as a vague starting point with the odd touch of Beherit, then
2) B) go off on their own tangent by
3) throwing in a few dashes of Blut Aus Nord’s searing, otherworldly and moderately terrifying riffing techniques.
4) garnish with crusty hardcore
When cooked together at just the right heat (hellfire mark IV), the resulting meal is a hateful dish best served loud.
Empyrean is positively vile – a scathing assault on the ears that touches places that have either under represented recently or have simply been done badly. Namely, they sound like they’d quite like to conjure up the Horned One for a campaign of appalling destruction that ends with the incineration of the entire planet. They sound chaotic in the most fevered manner. This is frequently down to the crusty fury they occasionally burst into, adding a visceral quality that prevents the madder sections from becoming too remote, without needing to relent.
If there’s one slight downside to the completely manic pitch of the whole thing, it’s that it’s not enormously memorable. While you’re listening to Empyrean, it’s unquestionably exciting, but the sheer quantity of sounds and components MR cram in and the utter craziness they’re trying to get across means it’s pretty much impossible to assimilate in any meaningful way. Any emotional response to this record most definitely ends with the final chords of album closer, ‘Broken Axis’. Mutilation Rites remain an aggregate of multiple sounds, rather than being a cohesive one all of their own – for now, at least.
On the plus side, thank fuck there are still black metal bands like this trying to sound violent and fiery, and doing it very well. Similarly, thank fuck there are bands that understand the virtue of short playing times (Empyrean is around 36 minutes long) if your music is a near-constant rage, as it doesn’t get a chance to get stale. This is seriously promising debut from a highly exciting band that, with a few kinks ironed out, could very quickly find themselves on their generation’s Black Metal A-list. Filth this fun is in short supply.
Sounds like: Darkthrone, Blut Aus Nord, Disfear.
Stand-out tracks: A Season Of Grey Rain, Realms Of Dementia, Dead Years.