Pagan Records 2012
Poland's legendary black metal overlords Pandemonium return for their first full-length in five years. Misanthropy finds Pandemonium maturing in their style of modern black metal that strikes a balance between Monotheist era Celtic Frost and Blood Ritual era Samael. The thick and mountainous riffs that open the album on The Black Forest loom like mountains in the distance. They are accompanied by dry, gruff vocals and ghoulish shrieking vocals. The temp never really rises above a midtempo groove, however the drum lines arc constantly and the riffs, though slower, dance through a myriad of moods. They paint moods of epic nostalgia, monstrous darkness, and uncaring grimness. Dancing sticks across cymbals and melodic riffing flow forth as God Delusion begins, but the vocals create a much more stoic impression. The beat that finishes out the track is like a giant striding the landscape, proud and full of destructive power. The Samael references really take center stage on Necro Judas. I can hear echoes of After The Sepulture in the riffing, though with a mildly more melodic undertone and with a more modern feel. Stones Are Eternal shows a slightly more experimental side incorporating female vocals and crunchy riffs that lurch and stomp in doom-laden delight. A somewhat middle-eastern undercurrent permeates Only The Dead Will See The End Of War. The song whirls in slow motion as ancient melodies streak across undulating grooves and domineering drum beats. However, my one slight complaint on the entire album is brought into focus on this track. The bass drums at times are a little too clicky. However, as a whole I am entrances by Misanthropy. As is illustrated by this album, Pandemonium is an elemental force of black metal. Massive riffs and confident, mature songwriting are on full display on Misanthropy. This is certainly one of the pride and grim joys of the Polish scene, and for good reason.