text: Jean Relapse
May 30th, 2017
Here is Atrexial. Out of nowhere, the Spanish band comes out, revealed by Godz Ov War Productions. I never know what to expect when bands are labelled as ‘blackened death‘, so I went to discover the band very genuinely. To be honest, the band doesn’t leave you much choice as it’s their first release ever. Not even a demo, nothing. Releasing nothing but an album is quite a gamble. Bands generally need to show their hand before throwing an album to the world, at least to explore and find their sound. Well, let’s just assume they felt comfortable enough. Were they right?
The album starts with an introduction and jumps directly to The Hideous Veil of Innocence. Ouch. The sound is massive and distortion is at its best. Any fan of Lvcifyre might get hooked at this point, which I’m unfortunately not. Even though the riffs are twisted and tasty, this kind of black/death generally doesn’t work on me that much, Arkhon Infaustus put aside. What to say of what follows? The songs go by and the quality doesn’t decrease. The vocals are occupied, the riffs hit the nail on the head and the sound is of excellent quality. Then comes Unmerciful Imperial Majesty. The song brings a very black metal tone to the album, with melodic mid-tempos, high-pitched tremolo pickings and even orchestrations. Illuminatur, which follows right after, is reminiscent of Dissection for its introduction.
Wait, wait, let’s make a quick recap. After seven songs, I’ve been dragged from one genre to another. Fortunately, Ascension is a welcome piano interlude. Four songs to go, what to expect now? What if I told you that in ‘blackened death‘, there is ‘death‘? Souverain, with its solo and low-toned guitar riffs, is way more on the death side of the question. Is it disturbing? I’d say no, thanks to a certain unity in the production of the album and in the voice. Once again, the vocals are picking influences from here and there all the way long, and they are executed masterfully.
Now, after Souverain, what to think of Atrexial and my starting question? Apart from saying that I’m convinced by a debut album of such quality and maturity, a question remains: do they plan on exploring one of the genres they showed here, or is this mix a starting point to something more hybrid? I personally hope they will find their own path and create an even more disturbing, aggressive yet subtle kind of art, in a fashion seldom heard before.