French Metal hasn't really managed to make much of an impression on me, until now. This all changed on hearing 'Age Of Perversion' by brutal death Metal five piece Offending. Clearly I have been listening in the wrong place.
Initially, I actually thought this band was Polish, such was the quality of the blackened brutality contained within this album. They would certainly stand well alongside some of Poland's big names in extreme Metal.
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This is the band's second full length and the follow up to 2010s 'Human Concept' and on this album the band's aim is to go deeper and darker, giving a brutal impression of darkness. You only have to listen to the doom laden, bleak, atmosphere building intro on opening track, 'Infested By His Burden', to realise that this is not going to be a stroll in the sunshine, thankfully.
Given the dark haunting nature of the extended intro on this track you could also easily expect this to be a black Metal album but just before the second minute of the track, the tempo changes up about five gears, the brutality kicks in; fast as hell riffs, relentless battery from the drums and excellent harsh, deep, growling vocals.
The band maintain this intensity pretty much throughout the album and as well as having a strong brutal edge to the sound there is a technical element also, as on 'Within This World' and 'Modern Enslavement' which really add to the listening enjoyment.
The black Metal element woven into the band's sound, adds so much more atmosphere, depth and interest to their sound, as on title track 'Age Of Perversion', rather than just pure brutality. All this is matched, throughout the album, by the Satanic and blasphemous lyrical content, a perfect balance.
The album ends in a similar atmospheric blackened way to how it began, with the darkly emotive instrumental, 'Devotion'; it builds in intensity, gradually and is awash with some excellent guitar work.
I can't pick out a favourite track on this album at all, nor can I find a fault. 'Age Of Perversion' is a beautifully constructed face ripper of an album from start to finish, forty two minutes and nine tracks, all of which are an excellent balance between blackened melody and brutal technicality.
'Age Of Perversion' was mixed and mastered by Xort/Drudenhaus Studio and is out now on Deepsend Records.