BLACK METAL | NEW JERSEY/ USA
RELEASED VIA HELLS HEADBANGERS RECORDS IN 2010
Hailing from the US, The Royal Arch Blaspheme play straight up old school black metal. They are somewhat a side project band featuring Lord Imperial from Krieg and John Gelso from Profanatica, both fairly well known US black metal bands.
Album opener ‘Denial of the Holy Spirit’ reminds me a lot of Von with its simplistic repeating riffs and thrash/blast drumming and low rasp vocals. The album continues in much the same fashion, for the most part retaining the same pace, with a fair amount of slower and more doomy moments. Guitars have a grinding crispness to them giving them quite a earthy tone whilst the bass has a low rumbling tone. Drums are quite well produced for the style and are quite militant in execution. In fact, on second listen I believe these to be programmed, but if so, they are done quite well.
The overall sound created is sort of a modern old school, in that the musical style is very old school raw black/death in sound but clearly produced in the modern world. It’s almost as if Royal Arch Blaspheme are paying homage to bands like the aforementioned Von, Beherit, Darkthrone circa ‘Soulside Journey’ and Hell Hammer.
There’s not a lot more to add here really. If you’re familiar with the bands I listed then you’ll know exactly what sort of sound to expect, and RAB don’t really elaborate any more on this. That said, it’s quite an enjoyable listen, especially if you are in the mood for a good old school thrash out. It’s admittedly 100% unoriginal but it’s also fairly well executed. [6/10]
RELEASED VIA HELLS HEADBANGERS RECORDS IN 2012
So, two years later sees the second album aptly titled ‘II’. Essentially it’s much more of the same as can be found on the debut.
Listening to the albums back to back there’s very little difference, though a notable slight change in production and possibly a real drum kit? Liking this album really depends on what you want from the band. If you adore the debut, then this will surely not disappoint, but if you expected any sort of progression or diversity then you’ll be in for a letdown. Actually that’s not entirely fair, as there are several flourishes of melodic guitar work popping up here and there, which were much rarer on the debut.
It’s here that I struggle to write anything more. I mean, there’s not really any stand out tracks, and although the album doesn’t offend me, I find I’d rather listen to some early Beherit instead. I respect and understand what Royal Arch Blaspheme are trying to create here, and for that they get above half marks.
I think Royal Arch Blaspheme are a bit of a marmite band, and perhaps I’m one of the few that sits on the fence, depending on my frame of mind. No doubt all the fans of the ‘old school’ scene will be salivating all over this, and that’s fair enough. For me, I think I need to neck a half of whiskey before I can enjoy this fully. [6/10 – JOHN DOE]