Monday, 1 July 2013

Written In Torment - Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes


In recent weeks, a lot of new records have been announced and even released by some great bands and labels, so I thought it would be good to do a week long series of reviews, featuring some of those records, ending on either Saturday or Sunday. My first port of call in this series is local Yorkshire one-man black metal band Written In Torment. Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes is WIT's follow up to the 2006 EP The Uncreation. It's been released by fellow Yorkshire label Glorious North Productions and heralds the first of many new releases from the label. Being 7 years in the making, it's certainly been a labour of love for sole member Leviathan.

Tracklist:-

1. Earth Decimated
2. Eternities of Suffering Endured
3. Beast of The Depths
4. Descent Into Total Madness
5. O' Fortuna
6. Grief
7. Solitude
8. Behold The Trinity Maimed And Rotten
9. A Pig Hung In Golgotha
10. Necessary Evil.

I think that Black metal is the only genre that can truly get away with being played by a sole individual. I've heard plenty of one-man grind bands, which have to use drum machines instead of playing them, which gives the music a fake sound. Thankfully, Leviathan plays all of his own instruments in Written In Torment, including the drums. Opener Earth Decimated is a signal of intent, full of double bass and even a screaming solo. The rhythm guitar during the verses gives off a subtle level of ambience and the vocals are blood curdling. The early pace remains on the right side of intense during Eternities of Suffering Endured. Written In Torment adds more brooding melody this time and a more dramatic solo, which adds an extra sheen of quality to the music. The underlying brass ensemble hints at bands like Drudkh.

I like how Written In Torment is able to switch from the majestic height of songs like Eternities of Suffering Endured to the putrid, blackened filth in the likes of Beast of The Depths and Descent Into Total Madness. The variation, even though slight, makes a big difference to a sound, which feature modern touches alongside more traditional black metal textures. The record was mixed and mastered by Jonny Maudling of Bal-Sagoth and as a result the production is very crisp, yet remain true to the black metal ethos of WIT. He also contributed session keyboard to the album, which you can here at points throughout the record, like during fifth track O'Fortuna. Longer songs like Grief manage to show a more considered side to Leviathan's song writing. It can be hard to keep songs like this sounding interesting to the listener, but the time-changes help, as do swathes of ambience from the guitars. Another brilliant guitar solo also helps the song to standout as one of the best tracks on the record, in my opinion.

It merges straight into Solitude, which is a shorter but more immediate instrumental song. It follows the lead of the opening tracks with infectious pace at the start, before settling down mid-way through. Some songs also have a regimental bite to them, like during Behold The Trinity Maimed and Rotten. With the vigour of Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes's closing tracks, it finishes. It's a hell of a journey throughout and I have to say, it's one of the best one-man black metal records I've heard in quite some time. From the production to the instrumental and song structures, it's definitely one that should be heralded by fans of the genre. You won't hear many more like this all year!

You can stream the whole record here:-



You can order the CD version from the above bandcampo page or from Glorious North Productions at http://www.gloriousnorth.co.uk/.

If you head over to Written In Torment's own Facebook, you can also find out about the CD/T-shirt package that's available.

Written In Torment Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/writtenintormentofficial.

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