(Black Vulture Records)
'Perennial Anguish', the debut release from Finnish darkened death Metal four piece, Concrete Icon and follow up to their 2012 EP, 'Where The Horns Reign', is a dark fascinating album.
With influences drawn from old school death Metal and combined with misery filled, melodic leads and doom laden, crawling tempos, they aim to bring darkness fuelled heaviness to the underground masses and beyond. Taking lyrical inspiration from death, darkness, suffering, sorrow and the apocalypse, the end result is indeed dark and doom laden, intense and sinister and at times very complex.
The album seems to get better with each track, the further into the album you get. The vocals are deep, dour and brutal yet well intonated with a good range, from screams to gutturals, they are also comprehensible and very expressive and nothing finishes an album better than great vocals. Within the tracks they have varied the pace so it is not all slow and doom laden.
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The tracks are at times very cleverly constructed and the guitar work is impressive with quite a few good solos, this is tied together with some pretty powerful and well crafted drum work.
The album consists of eight tracks in total, opening on 'Haven Defiled' with a foundation of plodding doom, interspersed with surprisingly beautiful uplifting guitar segments, quite an enigmatic track, a feeling that manifests repeatedly across the album.
On several of the tracks, the drum work I thought really stood out, all the time it is discretely effective but breaking out when necessary. 'Rapture Of Torment' where the agony is beautifully expressed by the drawn out guitar work and clever riff patterns, a great builder of a track and here the drums play a very discreet yet skilled role in building the atmosphere on this track, possibly my favourite track.
On 'Callous Reaper' there is an interesting drum opener that builds as the guitars are added to complement the drum work. Also 'Monarch In Emptiness' is awash with crashing cymbals and yet more impressive drumming. There is a bizarre clean vocal segment and I found this a slightly strange track but it does end with nice mini solo.
'Righteousness And Torment' gets your head nodding with the opening notes, I love the construction of this track, with great twists and turns of direction.
'Sadness Upon Us' is a very mournful track that has an excellent guitar segment before breaking into a gallop a minute into the playing time then winding back down again to close. 'The Choir Of Serpents' opens at a dour and sinister pace, a very dark atmospheric track. I loved the haunting backing chants, which really added so much to the overall effect.
Title and final track, 'Perennial Anguish' is very much a case of, "we have saved our very best for last"; with a splendidly sinister edge to the guitars, perfectly enhanced by the application of menacing drum work, dark dour vocals and a beautifully baleful solo on closing, altogether resulting in a great album.