When boiling down an album like ‘Upon My Cremation Pyre’ into it’s broadest strokes and deepest minutiae it is hard to see the record as black metal at it’s core. The instrumentation is meandering, not unlike Slægt‘s avant-progessive black/thrash, but with wailing surf guitar runs and earthy, rotten death metal aesthetics. The cryptic, dark nature of the music goes to a similarly harrowing place as psychedelic black metal pioneers Oranssi Pazuzu but without the slightly obscured fealty to true black metal. Instead we get what many fans have dreamed about since first hearing the tremolo driven sound of Swedish black metal: Black/death metal that you could surf to. While I might be joking around a little bit… I’m actually dead serious that you’ll find that jangly-smooth guitar tone to be a highlight on most of the album and to great effect.
Jordablod haven’t yet ascended this conceptually brilliant sonic approach to the (ultimately more inspired) level of execution that you’ll find on Morbus Chron‘s soul-obliterating journey that is ‘Sweven‘ but I do not think the band is far from that level of artistic revelation. It takes you on a guitar-lead journey across dark, forested hills and deep into caverns dripping with neon ooze. I strongly believe that these types of experimental journeys are what currently is the most sincere form of extreme metal in the death/black metal underground. It isn’t enough to simply become psychedelic in sound and to darken versions of Yes and King Crimson riffs; the trip crafted with the sound is vital to listenability and Jordablod are one of the most successful in this regard.
For my tastes in 2017 this is one of the most appealing records to be released. I sat on reviewing it for quite a while because it’s impact on me wavered over the course of the summer. At times the songs were overly long and too similar, and at other times I was so lost in the spelunking journey of it all that it was the perfect trance for my state of mind. There is no incredible or brilliant instrumentation here to gawk over and what holds the impact is the trip, the pious, epic nature of the songs and not the guitar riffs themselves. Its rare that I favor such atmospheric fiddling over pure, concrete, metal riffs but I believe ‘Upon My Cremation Pyre’ belongs alongside the best releases by bands seeking to infuse progressive rock, space rock and psychedelia into extreme metal. The approach is unique and enthralling enough to recommend highly.
|Released||May 26, 2017|
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