The ultra-underground world of small Washington based Moribund Records has long birthed some of death and black metal’s finest releases into CD form. Perhaps the biggest standout from their early releases, for me personally, was Nocturnus‘ self-titled EP from 1993 and later on the long-forgotten Dawn of Kouatl full-length. I could make a huge list of all of their stuff I’d like on vinyl but absolutely at the top of my list is Drawn and Quartered‘s discography. Not only is their early discography a brutal and atmospheric blend of Immolation and Morbid Angel but each record on Moribund featured excellent album artwork and an increasingly brutal and technical style. They essentially took Immolation‘s ‘Here in After’ and reshaped it into something perfectly fitting for the early 2000’s obsession with down-tuned brutality.
‘Hail Infernal Darkness’ was their fourth full-length and it came atop a peak trilogy of releases from the band starting in 2003 with ‘Extermination Revelry’. After the relative blandness of their first album ‘Extermination Revelry’ marked the entrance of Dario Derna who’d drummed on the first Infester record and played keyboards on Evoken‘s discography before ‘Antithesis of Light’. The band had been given such a reliable foundation that each oppressive studio album they could manage somehow outdid the last. The increasing ambition of guitarist Kelley Kuciemba, as I said before, built above and beyond the atmospherics of Rob Vigna as his lead guitar work had become otherworldy and untouchable when ‘Hail Infernal Darkness’ rolled around. The thickly atmospheric rhythm work, menacing atmospherics and wailing Morbid Angel-esque dueling guitar solos was an achievement of the time. It is absolutely death metal for folks who love riffs and tons of them.
For all of the riff-less cavern-core erupting from bedroom projects across the last 10 years very little of it stands up to the truly atmospheric death metal crawl-and-blast of ‘Hail Infernal Darkness’. I find a lot of comfort and satiety in revisiting this album, which I consider a classic, and hearing that it still stands up 12 years later and remains a top entry for an altogether underappreciated and powerful death metal project. The artwork of Gabriel Byrne lends itself beautifully to the 12″ LP format as his detailed morbid surrealism depicted increasingly lurid scenes from hell with each commission for the band. If you’re a collector this’d be a no-brainer but I would also emphasize giving this album a spin if you just like/love death metal in general. I can’t recommend it enough if you are a fan of Immolation and Morbid Angel‘s ‘Gateways to Annihilation’ era.
NOTE: Review is for Krucyator Productions‘ licensed 12″ Vinyl LP issue of ‘Hail Infernal Darkness’, the album’s first vinyl issue. The CD/digital versions are still available from Moribund Productions.
|Released||January 3, 2006 CD | April 3rd, 2018 12″ Vinyl|
|BUY/LISTEN on Krucyator Productions’ Bandcamp!||Follow Drawn and Quartered on Facebook|
Vast the reaper’s prey. 4.5/5.0
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