In Memoriam Ill Omen
Pulverised Records 2009
A massive fortification of hollow sounding guitars immediately imposes its will upon the listener from the opening notes of the new album from Australia's blackest legions, Pestilential Shadows. Weapon Against the Sun is immediate in its energetic appeal with stern and unfeeling black metal melodies and vocals that sound as if they echoing out from within a deep ravine. Pestilential Shadows would be successful even if this were the extent of their sound yet they are infinitely more varied and deep. Shadowy clean guitars chill the air before a mid-tempo trudge ushers in a dual-edged sense of bombast and melancholy. Beautiful Demise is a somewhat different beast as it is possessed of a gothic, almost Katatonia-esque style though tainted with extreme blackness. The tragic piano that closes out the song adds even greater sorrow to the track. Blasting black metal covers everything with permafrost as For Man and Heavens Ruin streaks like a comet from the speakers. An almost death metal sense of songwriting pervades the song's early maneuvers before sparse, fuzzed-guitars and a forlorn lead casts a wretched shroud upon the rest of the composition. Sundered is another track that bears a kinship with the Brave Murder Day era rhythmic style and somber vibe. At the 4 minute mark that same riffing is sped up and fleshed out into a melodic black metal assault that is both searing and gut-wrenching. Disharmonic riffs stagger forward, gaining momentum on Ecclesia Moriendi until the instrumental finally collapses, all barriers washed away by sadness into calm and introspective clean guitar. Pestilential Shadows is one of my favorite Australian bands and In Memoriam Ill Omen illustrates perfectly why they have achieved this status. Their music is an effortless blend of sorrowful moods and extreme black metal malevolence.