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Unholy Baptism - ...On The Precipice Of The Ancient Abyss (2017) - Review

Band: Unholy Baptism
Album title: ...On The Precipice Of The Ancient Abyss
Release date: 10 March 2017
Label: Self-Released

Track List:
01. Bitter Winds (So Cold)
02. Wall Of Silence
03. Descent Of Eternal Sorrow
04. Staring Into The Black
05. Bathed In The Unholy Fire
06. Return To The Fields Of Eternity
07. For The Glory Of Satan
08. Four Lords
09. Shadow Of Death
10. Upon The Shadow Throne
11. Outro: The Oceans are Never Silent

“Left in the shadows, alone and cold. Lying crying and screaming for death’s cold embrace.
Cursing the name of God. Shattered, broken, living in fear of the  mask of anguish, the mask that you wear to hide yourself from the worlds beyond.”

Nothing but pure Satanic black metal done with mastery is what Unholy Baptism brought to us with their first full-length album ...On The Precipice Of The Ancient Abyss. This talented duo from Arizona (USA), Mantus (rhythm guitar, bass, vocals, lyrics, drums) and Moloch (lead guitar, drums) arise in 2008 and in 2010 they debuted with the self released 5 track EP of which the track "For The Glory Of Satan" is chosen to take place also on this debut full-lenght album.

The duo did several shows in their state, but due to some adversities they were inactive until 2012 when they re-formed and began to compose the songs for this recent work. According to Mantus the band's sound and tones were re-evaluated. They have decided to blend into their sound more dark ambient, haunting melodies found in both black and doom metal and the mid-tempo riffing reminiscent to the early Norwegian black metal scene. The lyrics were well structured around themes as theistic Satanism and H.P. Lovecraft, enriched with a very depressive deadly atmosphere.

This album without being really in the shadows of the early 90s cult Norwegian bands achieves its purpose to honor Mayhem, Burzum, Satyricon and Darkthrone. Crude, intense, sharp and aggressively direct guitar riffs and grim wicked lyrics are found throughout the 11 tracks and bring us back to the beginning of the Norwegian metal's golden age. All of the songs are well placed in terms of harmony between the instrumental side and the theme of the lyrics. For example already in the first track, "Bitter Winds (So Cold)", the use of natural elements, allied to a dark haunted drone atmosphere takes you in 5 seconds to a desolate landscape of a Nordic icy desert. Only you are there wrapped in the cold haze of sadness when without warning, frighteningly, a vigorous and heavy explosion of the guitar catches you unaware. Yes, you can scare yourself till the bones at the time they begin.
"Wall Of Silence" starts the "Ode" for the Norwegian black metal old school. No element of the old school was lost or suppressed. Melodic riffs that keeps it raw attracted me in the first place. In the middle of the track, even for a few seconds, depressive desolation perfectly blends with insane tremolo pickings and powerful blast beats. “Return To The Fields Of Eternity” uses the incessant cry of crazed crows in the first 26 seconds of the track and reminded me a lot of Hitchcock's 'The Birds'.

All tracks in this album are long, quite epic and with praise they bring us back to memorable times when many of us would gather in garages to listen to bands' albums that exploded in a time of stagnation and rampant degradation of mankind. Congrats to Mantus and Moloch for the well written lyrics, for the very well structured guitar lines together with poignant bass during the atmospheric passages for the brutal cruelty of our style. Vocals are notable, more blackened doom-styled shrieks than real black metal itself, but still it does not detract from the album's brilliance and its primal intent. The whole theme of this album and the way it was thought asks for this kind of vocal approach.

In the end I would like to say that the album has quite good productional value within the genre of extreme black metal. the most noteworthy tracks are "Staring In The Black", "For The Glory Of Satan" and "Upon The Shadow Throne". Some dark crows told me that they will release still this year another album called The Bonds Of Servitude, well, I'm certainly looking forward for it! Bring the Devil!

Review written by: Felin Frost
Rating: 8/10