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Review for 'Vorkreist - Sublimation XXIXA'
If you love Black Metal, like Death Metal and don't dislike Industrial Metal, then Vorkreist's 2006 masterpiece Sublimation XXIXA is the perfect album for you.
Vorkreist formed in Paris in 1999, and have since produced four full length albums, branching out into both Black Metal and Death Metal territory with varying degrees of influence on each occasion. Sublimation XXIXA is their second full length album and features equal amounts of characteristics from both genres, all convincingly wrapped in a nice artifical and life-threatening feel, not unlike Otargos, but opting for only subtle industrial elements instead of giving them a notable presence.
Being heavily influenced by Death Metal, Sublimation XXIXA isn't your typical Black Metal release with fuzzy production, raw tremolo-picked guitars, high-pitched shrieked vocals and an overall cold atmosphere. Quite the contrary, Sublimation XXIXA features a very clean production, with an almost digital feel to it much like Marduk's World Funeral, as well as some Death Metal riffing techniques coupled with some harsh low-pitch Death Metal growls spread throughout.
Of coruse, this means that there is none of your typical "icy wind" or "grim forest" atmospheres in Vorkreist's arsenal, but where it lacks in the frozen department, Sublimation XXIXA predominates with an inhuman, sterile and rather mechanized feel, which to be honest can be quite refreshing at times.
While the first few songs on the album never quite seem to ignite and reveal the band's talent, things really kick off on Sublimation XXIXA with the fourth track "Thy Death Divine" unleashing the true potential of Vorkreist's cutting guitar-work and hate-filled vocals, followed by "Sodogma", a song that will stick in your brain with it's ever so catchy intro and awesome chorus. Each subsequent track is full of creative songwriting and absolutely devastating riffs, dragging the listener deeper and deeper down into the heart of whatever it is that the album's cryptic lyrics are trying to convey, coming to a close with the album's longest track, "Ecstatic In Repulsion", which ends in an almost dream-like instrumental piece that wakes the listener up and reminds them to hit the play button once again.
One thing that Vorkreist has managed to get spot-on, even above the excellent drumming, vocals and everything else, is the guitar tone itself, which makes for a very "groovy" listening experience. Groovy as in, you know, fucking obliterating, man.
What other albums sound similar to this?
As far as similar albums go, definately check out other Vorkreist works such as Sickness Sovereign and Sigil Whore Christ, although due to line-up changes and the band's desire to constantly evolve their sound you won't be faced with anything quite as satisfying as Sublimation XXIXA. Take note that the band's debut album Sabbathical Flesh Possession is more on the Death Metal side of things and features a pretty raw production, contrasting too much with Sublimation XXIXA's clean production to be considered similar.
You will be interested to find out that there is another French band that has a very similar yet perfectly independent sound to Vorkreist's that also produce some of the finest Industrial Black Metal albums out there. Their name is Otargos, and I mentioned them earlier in the review, and while their area of expertise is Industrial Black Metal, many musical parallels can be found with Sublimation XXIXA. All of their albums are very, very, very good indeed, and are strongly recommended whether you are seeking similar albums or not.
Other honorable mentions are Code's innovative 2005 Nouveau Gloaming and Lvcifyre's The Calling Depths from 2012, with both bands proceeding from the United Kingdom. Also worth checking out is Necros Christos, an exceptional Black / Death Metal band from Germany with two full lengths under their belt so far, my personal favourite being their 2011 album, Doom of the Occult.
In a nutshell...
Vorkreist are one of those bands that simply stand out above the rest by producing some of the finest niche-centered Black Metal of the highest quality, with their specific niche being something along the lines of either Blackened Industrial Death Metal or Death / Black Metal with a hint of Industrial elements, it's hard to tell really. Whatever their style, it's just a remarkable achievement that Vorkreist can extract the best out of all these different styles while at the same time fitting them all together so seamlessly.
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