Monday, 18 November 2013

Vesterian - Anthems For The Coming War Age


I knew it wouldn't take me long to write about another black metal record. This one comes from Californian black metallers Vesterian. Anthems For The Coming War Age was released via UK label Glorious North Productions in collaboration with the band themselves and is their debut full length, after releasing a number of demo's since their inception in 1997.  It features nine hateful, satanic black metal hymns.

Tracklist:-

1. Gathering
2. Under The Red Moon
3. Morax Gates Pt.2
4. Ancient Bloodthirst
5. Unknown Spells Cast From Nibiru's Watch Towers
6. For Battles To Come
7. Dead Kings of Tyranny
8. Dark Oceans Roar During The Cosmic Upheaval
9. Blasphemous Sorcery Of A Witch King

Opening with the disconcerting intro of Gathering, Vesterian inflict their god-banishing noise upon the listener with Under The Red Moon. Full of cold icy blastbeats, anthemic guitar and rasping growls, Vesterian have all the hallmarks of a band to be feared and revered in equal measure. Ensuing the more ambient leanings of some of their US peers, they make their point with blistering Immortal like precision and a brilliantly dramatic solo towards the end. Their momentum carries on through to Morax Gates Pt.2 with the use of more screaming lead work, sweep picking and crazed drumming. The cymbals get more of a workout adding a metallic edge to their music and they start to sound more expansive, letting their instrumentation come to the fore. The vocals seem to sit more central in the mix but buried amongst the music instead of on top of it, meaning you don’t get that machine-gun like, dull percussive sound that other bands have been plagued by in the past. Their’s is more encompassing and full. 

They splice some early thrash elements into the intro of Ancient Bloodthirst before ripping into their black metal arsenal once again. The main draw for me is still the lead work on this record, which adds another dimension to the music. It’s bombastic, but not recent Dimmu Borgir bombastic; therefore, not falling into that cheesy trap. It’s all the better for it too. The twin guitar work in the mid-section is a joy to behold as well. If you’ve got to this point in the review, you know it’s going to be a long one, but there’s just so many talking points here. It beats me how black metal bands of this ilk can keep the momentum going throughout an entire record. Just listen to the drumming during the verses of Unknown Spells Cast From Nibiru’s Watch Towers. You can’t help but be carried away by it’s pummelling double bass. When mixed in with the guitar work, it just fits perfectly.

For Battles To Come is a call to arms. Brimming with symphonic elements, it’s melody wraps around you and pulls you into to is deathly embrace. The slayer-like screaming solo towards the end sounds like a chainsaw at full blast. Vesterian takes a moment away from their sprawling majesty with the urgency of Dead Kings of Tyranny. It proves that they can condense their song-writing into shorter morsels, without compromising their icy tones and biting rasp. That symphonic twist carries on during Dark Oceans Roar During The Cosmic Upheaval. This song takes Vesterian back to their lengthy-best, weighing it at two seconds short of ten minutes. Even though it’s long, it holds your attention throughout. Much like the rest of the album, it’s not proggy or overbearing, instead relying on what they do best. At this point, Anthems For The Coming War Age is moving to it’s conclusion, but with one final blast to go, you’ll want to stay attentive.

Finishing with Blasphemous Sorcery Of A Witch King, Vesterian take things down a slightly more measured path, but only slightly! The menace and mayhem are still present as the songs winds it’s way through a final eight-minute + blast. It’s been an incredible journey and one which defies what you though of black metal. With stunning productions and musicianship, Vesterian manage to standout from the chasing pack. You can not and should not miss this record.

You can listen to four tasty morsels from Anthems For The Coming War Age via the Glorious North Productions Bandcamp page below:-



You can buy the album on CD here - http://www.gloriousnorth.co.uk.

Vesterian Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/VESTERIAN
Glorious North Productions Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Glorious-North-Productions

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