RSS Feed

A Ceremony Of Power EP

Self-released (2014)
Rating: 8/10

While I missed out on hearing the Genocide demo released in 2012 from London’s Premature Birth, I’m rather grateful to have been given the chance to sink my teeth into their debut EP.

Premature Birth is a black metal quartet which dabbles in atmospheric black metal. Some of you out there who follow the UK black metal scene may have heard of a cracking band – and probably England’s oldest black metal band – Witchclan. If you liked their 2011 album Misanthropist, then you should check out this EP. Although both bands are different in style, Premature Birth still opts for that raw, black metal squawk vocally and the music is fast, raw and tinged with orchestration.

A Ceremony Of Power is built on four tracks which all harbour a rather depressive, ambient edge. The opening track ‘Revelation’ clocks in at over seven minutes, and finds good ground between speed and mid-tempo passages. The production does let it down to some extent, although I get the feeling that the band was opting for that lo-fi quality to add to the already morbid atmosphere. From what I’ve experienced here though, it is all delivered in a rather muffled and remote style where the guitars seem rather lost in the background at times. Even so, there are some excellent effects and tight rhythms and the melodies are fantastic for a band that has only been active for some three years.

This EP is worth every penny you pay because its duration is some 30-or-so minutes and within that you get four tracks which are all lengthy passages, but there’s nothing predictable about any of these songs. In fact, Premature Birth keeps you guessing throughout; one moment there is a thrashy din of quick-fire drums, the next the band reduces itself to a pitch-black pensive meandering.

The title track again incorporates the keyboard effects of Vicki Thompson, while the primitive guitars this time round opt for a more traditional gleam – both Billy O’Neill and Dev Gohil excel when it comes to pace and variety, and Adam Lewis’ strong percussive interventions add a touch of the epic to what started out as a lo-fi composition.

Clearly believing in their sound and skills, the band marches with swagger into the black thrash drama of ‘War Against The Filth’, which exhibits snarling, scratchy vocal techniques and again that pulsating keyboard flow. The EP comes to a close with the monstrous ten-minute ‘Watching The World Crumble’, which begins with the sort of introduction you’d expect on a mainstream thrash album before introducing us to some fabulous technicality in the guitar department and then those hellish rasps. Having said that, any band which opens its work with screams of “Kill yourself!” must be a tad unhinged.

It’s with that morbid curiosity that I pass this EP off as a monumental release with regards to UK black metal, and with Witchclan’s new opus The Dark Binding on its way as I write this, it signals exciting times for the British black metal scene.

Neil Arnold

<< Back to Album & EP Reviews

Related Posts via Categories