Contempt in any connotation is a judgement, an inequitable destroyer of relationships, and ever-looming threat to any fragile egotistical cult of personality. This bold disrespect is perhaps the most serious offense one can commit in any savagely Orwellian culture; To submit a superior, disrespectful attitude is akin to assault and the skin that protected generations past grows thinner with each passing year. As the collective internet-fed consciousness rubs each other’s faux-sentience raw with perceived threats, persecution complexes, and hyper-sensitive fear mongering in the name of collecting insincere herds it would appear as if the mental aptitude of Earth’s most dominant civilizations begins to melt into decay in front of those they oppress with tiny glowing screens. As rats chip and chew away at the foundation of a greater house threatening to cave in above head, the creaking of structural beams comes as rapturous celebration for the edges of society. The observers, those liers in wait are all silently cheering at the cracks in the walls regardless of alignment. Whether one is anarchist or fascist they share an extremist’s contempt much the same, however opposing their goal. The result is violence. The notion of forced alignment with the repercussion of opposition is a point of contention for any and all ‘free’ peoples, a great manipulation used by ruthless Christians and every other sect of mass murderers in human history. Thus contempt comes fast and harsh against the herd, right or wrong, as history’s greatest collapses come in great unsustainable numbers.
Fear of improper representation drives any truly independent voice into a vortex of anxiety and thus journalist and reader alike grow increasing self-conscious of what they look at. The trail is real and easily parsed by the enormous corporations that host monopolies of internet mind-share. Thus a quick glance at the debut full-length from Milwaukee, Wisconsin black metal band Prezir seems to have curiously inspired quite a string of forum posts and online hand-wringing over their alignment. In fact a glance at their lyrical content makes it clear they employ equal opportunity malignancy towards all cults be they national socialist, fanatic coup, or homicidal religious sect. This is perhaps the most commonly misunderstood key to the spirit of black metal which so many alarmists skim over. In delaying the important aspects of music the focus on symbolism becomes an asset to an album like ‘As Rats Devour Lions’ if only because it appears more dangerous than your average blackened death metal album at first glance. Thankfully an impressive barrage of riffs delivers some thrilling contextual intensity to its greater themes of spurious uprising and charlatan revolution.
The elements of death and thrash metal comprising the greater holistic black metal attack of Prezir are almost entirely rooted in the premillennial sphere of influence keeping in mind these musicians are/were key members of Shroud of Despondency, Pig’s Blood, Northless, and Khazaddum. Stylistic influences serve intense guitar compositions combining classic Emperor, later Dawn, and Grand Belial’s Key (“Janicari”) with some heavier jogs into death metal territory. The music is of reasonable complexity and informs movements with both classic heavy/thrash metal and inward-folding 90’s black metal melodicism. Regal and highly violent rather than saccharine there are moments of intensity within ‘As Rats Devour Lions’ that approach a Arghoslent-like level of contempt (“Plagiarized Infamy”) while others bark-and-growl like the most feral Deicide or Nile moments. Because of this I don’t hesitate in adding some secondary note for a mild, but highly effective death metal influence. As dull as it is to suggest on paper, the power of Prezir‘s compositions lies in smart throngs of guitar riffs that come with surprising quality considering the band have only been a unit for two years to date. The band as a whole is far tighter here compared to their first EP, ‘Contempt’ (2017).
You’ll be able to quickly confirm some of those earlier name drops and suss out some of Prezir‘s influences but more importantly, how do the songs hold up over time? I found ‘As Rats Devour Lions’ began more distinctive in parts before I became familiar with it’s entirety front and back. Blackened rasps and cavernous growls lead violent riff tirades towards the greater personality of Prezir but all is accentuated by the album’s most easily overlooked virtue in Brian Serzynski‘s (Pig’s Blood, Shut In) absolute hurricane drum performance; This comes as some small surprise considering the comparatively plain brutality of his other projects. That said the blistering guitar work that pays dues to both brutality and melodic interest is, for my taste, the main event. Because ‘As Rats Devour Lions’ exists in the greatest traditions of black metal, I found a full listen could quickly turn into three or four just for the sake of keeping that fantastic momentum going.
Without building up into too much of a tizzy in regards to the exceptional flow of ideas and sharp performances I will say that those looking for innovation and some sort of forward-thinking opus should look elsewhere; Prezir appear adamant in their ethos as well as their taste in a specific set of shared influences without any reason to reinvent forms. Of course this sort of project is worthwhile both for its seemingly dangerous exterior and equally raw inner workings. For preview the opener is mandatory but beyond that I’d suggest “Serpents in the House of Ra” to see how well the two vocal styles gel in the same song, as well as “Plagiarized Infamy” for all of the goddamn riffs.
Heralding caustic prophecy. 4.0/5.0
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