Friday, March 2, 2012

Axis of Light- By the Hands of Consuming Fire(2012)

Axis of Light- By the Hands of Consuming Fire

The shrill wails of By the Hands of Consuming Fire will peel the skin away from your flesh, revealing your inner weakness and filth. It shines a burning, unholy light over you as the sonic waves of madness riddle you with suffering. Not since last years emotionally affecting No Help For The Mighty Ones has an album had such a profound effect on my mood and psyche. Bubbling with sheer rage yet flowing with inner beauty, By the Hands of Consuming Fire represents everything truly awesome about Black Metal at it's most raw and unrelenting.

As though moving through each track if carried by veins and arteries, melody and harmony filter just beneath the thick layers of static and the tortured screams of vocalist Axiom; his unhinged an maniacal rantings worthy of praise alone. But there is also a certain amount of sadness in his voice, a sense of actual loss that you can feel in his super-high-pitched shrieks. This same emotional brevity comes through in the compositions as well. Warped-speed rage and blistering wrath gives way to short lulls of cavernous depression before the rising hate spills over the edges and brings us back to pure anger. Those aforementioned moments of melody and off-kilter harmony stab like daggers from beneath, and bring with them a coating of spiritual poison that seeps into you and suffocates your very blood. By the Hands of Consuming Fire will leave you agitated and very fucking cold.

It's also a step away from being a sloppy, unlistenable mess. The second member of this twosome, Origin, plays all the instruments and does so with lots of energy. Also sloppiness and without much in the way of technical proficiency. The timing isn't always spot on, and the drums have a tendency to miss their marks. Yet all this does is add to the appeal: By the Hands of Consuming Fire is a purely cathartic experience that throws traditional musicianship out the window in favor of pure emotional electricity, and I for one an a sucker for stuff just like this. I'm not as in love with the production. Complaining about production on a Raw Black Metal record is like complaining about the taste of alcohol; quite literally missing the point. But the drums are almost completely lost in the mix, and that lack of pulverizing low end makes this album feel much more high-pitched and screech-y. For some, this might be a major turn off.

But for me, By the Hands of Consuming Fire is anything but a turn off. Listening to this album is akin to shooting cocaine straight into my brain: it leaves me on edge, fried out and full of conflicting desires. And if you are not left totally frazzled and exhausted after this screaming nightmare, then you are truly cold and without feeling... perhaps the person that this album was made for.

Rating: 9/10

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