Label: Blackened Death Records
I’ve written before about how Pope Richard, the main man behind Blackened Death Records, never seems to stop working. Since my review of Takhisis a few weeks ago, he’s already released several new grind and crust singles, organised a multi-artist compilation, and released a new album as World Controller. His sci-fi based death/doom project is back with its second album, Fiery The Angels Fell, and it’s a much angrier album than previous LP Apocalypse and EP Divinitatis Aemulus, with moments of punked-up, grind-indebted fury and speed. It makes Fiery The Angels Fell a varied, engaging listen, with a lot of character and depth to it.
That anger is evident right from first track ‘Thought Police’, which opens with an air raid siren and clocks in at less than four minutes. The riffs are fast and punchy, subtle bass melodies can be found in the background, and there’s a relative nimbleness to the drum patterns. It’s an odd amalgamation of punk and death-doom, yet it absolutely works. Tracks like ‘Illuminazi’ and ‘Instant Death’ take a similarly punked-up approach, whilst the 97 seconds of ‘Pigfucker’ – yes, about David Cameron (allegedly!) – are pure grind. Yet even at its fastest and angriest, there’s a weight and heft to the riffs that is in keeping with the doom metal roots of World Controller.
It’s not all speed and aggression. Second track ‘Integral’, based upon the classic novel We, is a nine minute dirge, full of sorrow and melancholic melodies. ‘World Controller’ and ‘Gentrifire’ have the same kind of world-ending stomp as debut LP Apocalypse did, conjuring up images of a new-future dystopia; whilst the sparse, funeral doom of ‘Infinite Loss’ is possibly the album’s weakest moment, but it’s still an interesting moment of contrast. The final two songs deserve special mention; as well as drawing heavily from death-doom, ‘Spear of Deicide’ and the closing title track have a distinct viking-era Bathory feel at points, which is an interesting contrast with the lyrics (which are based upon Neon Genesis Evangelion).
In terms of both lyrical themes and music, this is one of the most eclectic records that Pope Richard has put his name to. It’s a brave move, to include such varied topics and styles on a single 50 minute record; and yet, it’s an undoubted success, moving with a sense of confidence and determination that helps keep everything hanging together. Pope Richard’s vocals also deserve praise, whether it be his powerful growls or cleans, both of which are used intelligently, and neither style is over-used. It’s another great album from one of the most active musicians in the underground.
Fiery The Angels Fell is available digitally via Bandcamp.