'The Living Magisterium' is the second EP from Wisconsin based blackened death Metal quartet Emblazoned and the follow-up to 2005s 'A Ceremony Of Hellfire' and 2001s demo 'Nocturnal Arsonist' and is nothing short of superb.
Given the listenable quality of this album you can more than forgive the band for the big time lapses between releases but it is hardly surprising it is so good given that this project features Kevin Forsythe (ex-Jungle Rot) on guitar, A.J. Lewandowski (Decrepit Birth, ex Enfold Darkness) on bass, Jeff Plewa (ex-Micawber) covering vocals and Alex 'Pulverizer' Pulvermacher (ex-Decrescent) on drums.
A good pedigree of musicians and when they produce something this good, you don't mind the wait.
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The whole thing is deeply brutal with a unique blending of genres that is so flawless you can hear them all combined cleverly together but there is no separation, they just exist as one. The vocals from Jeff Plewa are magnificent, a harsh, deep growling gargle with a lot of variety and range and richness to them.
This is intended also to be a lyrically thought-provoking piece of work that challenges traditional religious dogma to legitimize itself in the modern era, something that also gets my interest and approval.
There are just five tracks overall, totalling fifteen minutes and opening with 'Premonition', a short haunting noise-scape intro and from the remaining four full tracks I am hard pressed to choose a favourite as there is something about each one that catches my attention.
'Extinction Of Creation' is fast, chunky with spiralling blackened riffs, a catchy track. Across the whole album the guitars are good but on 'Bound By Eternal Penance' they just take it a little bit further, a great break midway and well garnished with harsh, vitriolic vocals.
After the dark haunting opener on 'Refuge In Darkness' the track builds and as it opens out there is a beautiful intense quality to the drum and guitar work. The final track 'In Ex Cathedra' begins with a classic blackened plodding rhythm to it before shifting up a couple of gears, culminating into an intense, pounding and exciting end to the EP.
'The Living Magisterium' was produced by Chris Wisco at Belle City Sound in Racine, Wisconsin and the cover art was created by artist Raf The Might (Too Many Skulls).
At just fifteen minutes this is very much quality over quantity, it leaves you craving a full length release, but if you want more just put it on repeat play and enjoy the brutality over and over. I did!