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'Antologi MMXV'
(Black Lion Productions)

jools green

Jools Green


Although they started out as an ambient blackened project back in 1999 with their debut full length 'Legion/Doomsdays Dawn', these days Swedish Black Metal outfit Murdryck refer to their sound as "semi-melodic", to emphasise that the focus of their sound now is more on intense riffing and pummelling drum work, with melody taking a secondary position, however it's there and in just the right quantity to give this now very aggressive Black Metal sound a very listenable edge.

The harsh vocal delivery also adds to this aggressive aspect. This metamorphosis was completed with the release of their very positively received 2015 EP 'As The Moon Bleeds' and ten track offering 'Antologi MMXV' continues where that left off.

The aptly titled 'The Sombre Angel' is a dark, solemn yet beautifully orchestrated opener, a reflection of their more ambient past, but following a pulsating beat its straight into 'As The Moon Bleeds', a track which, whilst very drum and guitar driven, does have a haunting melodic segment, garnished with tortuous screams just after the crushing opening and at times the bass lines have the focus, all completed by some impressive closing lead work.

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On 'The Ascension' powerful blackened riffs rip their way through the vitriolic vocal delivery, with haunting midpoint shredding, prominent bass lines, sleek direction switching and some very nice closing acoustic work.

In comparison, with its slower, more melodic leaning 'Swallowed By The Ages' starts with a haunting poignant opener, expanding to tight blackened riffing and a second half lead breakout tailing off to a slow crushing finish, but with a surprising melodic finale.

A reversed approach is used for 'Slaves Under A Dying Sun', initially a full on and in your face, crushing offering, then dropping away suddenly to a superbly heavy dark rhythm and piercing lead work which contrasts beautifully against each other with the opening crushing element returning for the close.

Tempo wise Murdryck keep it varied and next track 'Metamorphosis' has a slow morose opener which adds a very haunting hypnotic feel as it opens but you are pulled out of your trance by a tortuous scream heralding a rise in tempo. It does drop again to that morose pace before developing a classic blackened plod to the rhythm along with prominent bass lines and utterly superb midpoint lead work.

On 'Blood On The King's Hands' the guitar and drum work builds skilfully around each other, before a crushing midpoint onslaught. I kept waiting for another blasting chunk of lead work, just because I love how these guys deliver them, but it didn't happen here... but ultimately that was just me being greedy, the track in no way needed it.

As much as I've enjoyed this album so far it gets darker and more fascinating from this point on with the arrival of 'Hymens Svarta Toner' which comes at you in a slower haunting manner with the best vocals so far delivered here; very well intonated and inflected, a track which reminded me a little of 'Vinum Inctus' era Alghazanth.

Still pushing the boundaries further 'Under Torn Constellations' starts on a bleak symphonic element with haunting whispering vocals, switching suddenly to crushingly black riffing, broken with haunting drop-ways, overlaid by attention grabbing shrill lead sections, then a dramatic tempo and direction shift briefly midway before a return to that crushing guitar work that becomes haunting after a superbly sinister spoken vocal delivery.

Final track and album monster 'Throne Of Shattered Divinity' at seven minutes is the album's most varied track, as you would expect from this length duration, with an abundance of tempo and direction switching and the operatic opener it made me wonder just what direction this track would take, a couple of good moments being the drop to a slower pace backed with haunting chorals breaking up the intense riffing a couple of minutes in and a drop to prominent bass lines in the latter part of the track.

'Antologi MMXV' should have a definite appeal to fans of Dissection, Sacramentum, Vinterland, Black Horizons or Alghazanth. Vocally this release is good but where it truly comes into its own is with the superb guitar work that runs throughout.

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