Thursday 17 August 2017

Written In Torment - Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum


1. Abyssus Abyssum Invocat
2. Spear Of Destiny
3. Baralis
4. The Gun To My Head
5. Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum
6. Worthless Child Race
7. Dies Irae
8. Ouroboros, Thou Art Leviathan!

Here's the new full-length from extremely local (to me) black metal band Written In Torment. It comes four years after sole-member Leviathan released the band's debut album "Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes" via Glorious North Productions and has been released with the help of Greek label Sleaszy Rider Records. Leviathan has enlisted a number of guests to provide vocals on this album too, including members of Bal-Sagoth, as well as keyboards and production from Jonny Maudling.

I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with solo black metal bands of late, which is why this album is very welcome indeed. Written In Torment has gone for a proper studio production job on “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum” and it shows on opening track Abyssus Abyssum Invocat. The instrumentation and vocals are a lot clearer and there’s more metal than I was expecting there to be (aside from the black stuff of course). The percussion on Spear Of Destiny is powerful straight from the off, while the guitar work provides a lot of melody. Folk elements peer through during the extended mid-section too, while it’s definitely more progressive as a whole. Baralis is both extreme and theatrical, with clean vocals and brass appearing alongside the orchestral blackness. There is a real flow to the album so far as well. It’s been structured so the songs follow each other without sounding out of place. Despite the graphic imagery conjured up by the song title, The Gun To My Head is strangely hypnotic. It’s also one of more consistently blasting songs on the album. It flies by as well, belying it’s eight+ minutes of playing time. Guess you could say it’s catchy(!?). The title-track follows on with almost no time for breath and continues with the same momentum. As well as the album’s flow that I talked about earlier, Leviathan seems to have crafted a theme and sound that’s quite enduring, not in a droning sense but one that you can’t steer away from, even for a second. The sweep-picking style guitar during Worthless Child Race is great, while the keys add a haunting layer. The clean vocals fit right in, though part of me feels like the should have been delivered in either German or Latin. The black/thrash ending takes the heart rate up a notch or to and ups the urgency prior to the closing duo. Penultimate song Dies Irae seems to have all bases covered, from the fantasy-like keyboards to screams that wouldn’t sound out of place on a suicidal black metal record. Leviathan uses ambience more freely on album closer Ouroboros, Thou Art Leviathan!. It’s created by the melody of the guitar work and the song’s subtle but stripped back feel. It’s rounds out a an album that sounds like it was performed by a full band, which is impressive from a solo-band. It deserves to be up there with the best British black metal albums of this year, when lists eventually surface. 

Both "Baralis" and "Worthless Child Race" can be streamed via Youtube below:-

If you're in the UK you can buy cd copies directly from Written In Torment here - Overseas orders can be placed via Sleaszy Rider Records here - There is also a vinyl version of the album on the way at some point.

Sleaszy Rider Records -

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