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Reign Through Immortality

Victory (2013)
Rating: 6/10

Daubed in corpse-paint, Canadian black metal combo Erimha come marching through the wilderness once again. It’s been three frosty years since their frightful 2010 debut opus Irkalla, and now with renewed vigour they have returned with Reign Through Immortality, another devilish dose of blazing melodic black metal.

Sadly, the look of the band is still slightly ridiculous, but then again, painting oneself to look like the leather-clad offspring of Alice Cooper and a Uruk-hai has always been a tad silly within the black metal realm. But anyway, the sound of Erimha, as expected, is rather harsh on the ears, although black metal was never created to caress the soul.

Immediately I’m drawn to the rather gruff vocals which make a nice change from the usual grim rasps and negative screeches. Instead, frontman Gore delivers a throaty bellow over those eerie symphonics and raging guitars. For the most part Reign Through Immortality is a fast album, but it’s one that lacks originality when you consider the amount of black metal bands who were churching this sort of stuff out a decade or so previous. However, if you can look pass the silly poses and the rather grating structures, then Erimha should no doubt appeal to hardcore black metal fans who crave drama, symphony and clean production.

Album opener ‘Enlightenment’ is a mere, brief introductory effect, but as soon as we’re full throttle with ‘Ascetic’ then the atmosphere begins to entrap you – the drums are hard, the guitars fast and meaty and, again, the vocals deep and guttural for a black metal band. I’m still unconvinced by the injection of synth effects which for me, unless dark and moody, can make a lot of these types of bands sound similar. However, Erimha offer us a rawer lesson in black metal despite the clicky drums and scathing guitars.

Sadly though, a track such as ‘Condemned To Desolation’ does little to separate itself from ‘Ascetic’, spinning the listener around in a blur of grating guitars. The opening orchestral drama of ‘Bewildering Nightmare’ suggests a much needed dose of variety, but once again we’re back to the pace, only this time it’s far more ferocious, hearkening back to those mid-90s style vibes.

Thankfully, the band do drop the pace on the infectious and sneering ‘Metaphysic Countenance’ which, except for the rather turgid drum sound, is one of the album’s finest moments. It’s the kind of track you would not expect from a majority of narrow-minded black metal acts, because it really chugs at depth, but my personal opinion is that it would have benefitted a lot more if it had been bereft of the effects. In fact, the rather irritating orchestral effects can at times be a hindrance, as proven with the rattling ‘The Ritual Of Internicion’ and ‘Verdict Of The Soul’. Both of these are decent enough tracks, but you just know what’s coming next.

Overall, Reign Through Immortality is a rather average black metal album and nothing more. When one stands back to view the scene as a whole, bands such as Erimha, despite the crushing weight of a track such as ‘Saunter To Extinction’, are also-rans who no doubt will garner a decent fan base with the right promotion, but there’s nothing here amid the clicky drums and countless injections of keyboards that enables the band to stand out from the crowd.

Neil Arnold

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