If you believe any and all forms of zealotry suggest clinical insanity then what great rebellion throughout the history of mankind’s Holocene damnation provides your stance on the state of the world today? The generations of murderous, thieving Christendom are not simply punctuated with harmful zealots but engorged past and present; A line-up that stretches a wide and dark band of cataclysmic ideology prodded and revised by the most prolific rapists, murderers, and rueful opportunists among humanity. Would you kill for your beliefs, and would you sacrifice a life for your God? There is horrific indoctrination into the world of sadism, depravity and murder at any point within the book of Genesis, particularly in the preserved forms of the Old Testament, but few as pointlessly achieved as that of Abraham’s bound sacrifice of his son Isaac. That he would slit his throat atop the fable site of sacrifice, Mount Moriah. In this old and molested fictive fable the ulterior discernment for Christians in forming their order was that Isaac wished to die, a sort of martyr later informing the illustrious gore-porn of Jesus’ death, and he expressed this with what zealots saw as the true ‘word of God’. Hippolytus of Rome would hand down this suggestion that Isaac would desire death as an example of trust and faith in their God. Insanity to anyone else, this tactic would prey upon those at a point of breaking, a place of decrepitude and defeat in the hopes that this servitude to God would save them the work of realizing and reconstituting the self outside of fairytales and fiction. These prime movers in the world of deadly Christian rule would twist the core of their religions cultist eschatology to rile followers into believing that religion, God, and country are all worth dying and killing for. For the nihilist and the Satanist this is the ironic beauty of being opposed; History unperturbed reveals Christianity as the true evil of the world, the great murderers of the innocent and the great failing operating system for a ‘free’ planet doomed into their own ignorance. Blackened death metal band The Order of Apollyon appear to mediate upon this death cult of Christ and their lies, almost admiring the decimation and doom that still suffocates the perpetual idiocy of humanity despite a greatly loosened grip.
‘Moriah’ is the flow of blood from a young mans neck as it is slit, a great release of life’s sacred pressures contained by instinct yet unleashed by the unnatural concept of a benevolent God. Quickly drying black-dark crimson pools beneath the listener as they begin to stick to cold marble floors, in this hour of release ‘Moriah’ is a razor to free life from the believer and to set example for the devout. There is freedom in every run of the guitar, in the abandon of the drum, and the roar of a man possessed as The Order of Apollyon begins emanating the spirit of the nourished and enriched warrior artist. No longer hobbled by inconsistent variables, and with serious footing, ‘Moriah’ is the iceberg’s tip of realized potential for four men with their heads finally above the sea of blood that surrounded them. It is a great wonder of currents and stymied dissonance to be enveloped and darkened by that exists as fluid-yet-memorable aggression that persists with great ownership of the self. For the extreme metal mind ‘Moriah’ may be yet another daimon in the ear but with some attention to the words of the serpentine path, it will undoubtedly reek of the struggle against the lies of feigned religious enlightenment.
The boot upon your neck is that of French musician BST (Sébastien Tuvi) who began his path in various Paris based black metal projects at the start of the millennium appearing on albums by Maleficentia, Balrog and the incredibly underrated melodic black/heavy metal hybrid Garwall. There he would cross paths with vocalist MkM (Antaeus, Aosoth) who would employ BST as a major contributor from 2006 until 2017 for an incredible run of six full-length Aosoth albums. Oddly enough he is still mentioned most often for his vital contributions to pre-2010 Aborted, where he appeared at a pivotal point of that bands sound and popularity. To confuse things a bit more the post-Aosoth band VI also features BST and for all intensive purposes I would have suggested that VI was the right band to focus on until the appearance of ‘Moriah’. That isn’t to say that The Order of Apollyon were uninteresting to start but the presence of ex-Cradle of Filth guitarist James McIlroy on their debut full-length ‘The Flesh’ (2010) was less than inspiring for my own tastes and the ‘true’ band really formed in 2014 when BST (assumedly) enlisted French musicians for a more stable line-up consisting of members of Temple of Baal and Vamcara Studio owner Herr Krauss. There in 2015 the band seemed like far less of a side-project with the release of the messy but hard-charging death metal album ‘The Sword and the Dagger’; Having come after Behemoth‘s ‘The Antichrist’ and featuring a very slightly similar style the second The Order of Apollyon album was ambitious, cumulative, and a great display of blackened death metal that I’d recommend to fans of the evolution of fellow French band Arkhon Infaustus but, few would argue that the production and mix were up to par with its strangely engineered drum sound that dulled more intense moments. The seeds for ‘Moriah’ were planted there where soaring melody began to shape their storm with a timbre akin to the most classic of melodic black metal (see: “Al ‘Ankabout”). The next step is perhaps more than a mild refinement or spiritual cleansing, but a greater voice to perfect their craft.
‘Moriah’ marks The Order of Apollyon‘s first full-length to feature musician A.K. (Johannes Judicaël) who is best known for his guitar work on post-‘Grey Rigorism’ era Merrimack but should be noted for his key presence in Decline of the I and, more recently, extreme doom project Sektarism. It also marks a point of greater stylistic fusion as the heft of ‘The Sword and the Dagger’ becomes more lithe with moderately dissonant and readily melodic black metal riffs encouraging more stoic expression among the collective. Each song arrives at a hook or bigger melodic arc that retains the attentive listener as well as the casual fandom, this isn’t a point towards greater accessibility rather than it manifests as simply more effective craft. ‘Moriah’ comes informed, or resembling, two fairly forgotten classics Arkhon Infaustus‘ ‘Filth Catalyst’, with a similar approach to drumming, and the pure-blackened blast of Svart Crown‘s ‘Witnessing the Fall’. From my own perspective this is an ‘enlightenment’ beyond what those French black/death metal groups were doing in the 2000’s in terms of light dissonance and deeper melodicism now given to the quality that BST has become known for through iterations of Aosoth and VI. If I use nothing but my own intuition as a listener in approaching ‘Moriah’ it is readily evident that this is the first album from this project where all members were dedicated and undiluted in their contribution.
The same way the average black metal listener has trouble labeling Mgła ‘melodic’ and the elite death metal fandom wouldn’t think to call Behemoth ‘brutal’ I find that sub-genre appropriate description of The Order of Apollyon tricky as their evolution is both a purer blend of black metal sound/aesthetics alongside modern death metal style. This is barely half of the picture as you’ll hear the huge emphasis on melodic passages and immediately think of the overblown character of modern day At the Gates (see: “Grey Father”, “The Cradle”) as well as the devout mysticism of Batushka (see: “Trident of Flesh”, “Soldat”). Though the end result is a different sort of expressive product, something more viably living and breathing, ‘Moriah’ is a thousand times more intense than previous releases owing much to a more successful melodic focus; It is an undeniably listenable spin that was immediately begging for a second round after the first listen. The reality of my listening experience ultimately arrived at a point of taking pleasure in the variations on theme and pace rather than style. As appropriate for the songwriters long established style, the bulk of ‘Moriah’ is unerring in its detailed tunnel vision but the major point of differentiation from past discography is that there exists a full albums worth of good ideas within this record. I’d spent several months listening to it and unable to find the words to express why it was so resonant and I’d delayed my review several months in the hopes that I’d eventually erupt with inspiration. So it came slowly and perhaps took more time than reasonable to reach a point of worship, I do feel that this third The Order of Apollyon record is their best and one of the better blackened death metal albums from 2018. ‘Moriah’ fits into a personal category of releases where its more obvious aspects are enough to sustain my attention for a very long time and because I was so enamored with its fidelity, composition, and inspirational melodic ideas that I would not let loose a ‘final’ judgement upon it because it became the very blood in my veins as the past year ended. Highly recommended. For preview, I suggest “The Lies of Moriah” for the unshakable hunter of the melodic riff, “The Cradle” for the modernist who would self-immolate, and “Rites of the Immolator” to see where the fangs first dug their deepest within the flesh.
Darkest angels of the abyss. 4.25/5.0
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