Sunday, December 20, 2015

Plutonian Shore - Sphere Of Geburah

My experience with Plutonian Shore prior to Sphere of Geburah is their previous very good early Satyricon inspired material from the Alchemical Manifestations split with A Transylvanian Funeral. Here, we get a full length release of material similar, though matured and more vicious. Twisting songs drag the listener through intense black metal landscapes. Tremolo guitar riffs adorn the release like baubles; plenty of detail and subtlety make this a rich listening experience - even with shorter than normal black metal song lengths - that does not immediately relinquish the numerous secrets hidden among what is a lively production. Distant guitars, prominent drums, audible bass, more passion, and clarity without being overly polished effect naturality.

Opening with "Infinite Womb", material draws influences from modern US black metal into the material however without the detrimental tinge of being a copycat of trends. Somewhere between Dissection and early Immortal in riff style, Plutonian Shore should appeal to a wide variety of black metal fans. My only complaint was the dialing back of 'symfonia' compared to what I remember. Modern USBM influences are obvious in the pummeling bombast of the drums. Atmosphere has been thrown to the wind in favor of sheer power. There is an overall immediacy to the album, with plenty of shorter songs, punctuated with a large quantity of ideas. Plutonian Shore have compressed what takes average black metal bands six or seven minutes to get across into half that time without sacrificing the feel of the material. This is evidenced right by the start with "Infinite Womb." Only a couple riffs repeat more than twice giving a decisive feel.

"Sphere of Geburah" leads off with a vicious tremolo descending phrase after the devious melodies of "Chains of Being" finally culminate. Plutonian Shore have ensured that each song flows appropriately into each other by differentiating melodies and riffs at the transitional moments between songs. Some songs do have similar sounding progressions but their proximity across the album prevents blurring. This isn't entirely true in regards to the percussion, which isn't as varied or mixed. While some tracks such as the previously mentioned "Chain of Being" and "At The Gates of Daath" have some more accentuated drum parts, and "Fiery Splendor" and album highlight "The Burial And The Liberation" make use of more moderately paced beats, a lot of the album is blasting. Drummer Gorgon shows his talent by way of endurance and the execution of his numerous drum fills but additional unique patterns would have helped some songs stand out more.

"Serpent's Ascension" includes some subtle vocal overdubs. Zvs Gastelum's voice is raspy, rich, and commanding. Most of the album's vocals are in the mid-range of black metal growls, though at times Zvs does reach towards higher screeches to emphasize certain moments in a more theatrical manner. "At The Gates of Daath" begins the final three tracks - two of which are my favorites on this release - utilizing this technique over tense traditional black metal riffing. The album culminates with the masterful "The Burial and the Liberation." A more mid-paced track, it sets a nice contrast to the rest of the album's pace. The dropped tempo lasts for only a couple minutes, as the track does speed up halfway through. Ringing notes, an atmosphere of finality, and foreboding of dread all emanate strongly from "The Burial..." as well as much of the rest of the album. Strong black metal worth becoming familiar with.

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