Black metal and doom metal– as ruggedly different as these subgenres are, when combined correctly they can make for an articulate creation. Reigning among the metal community in Mississauga, Ontario for the past few years, Plague Weaver have ruminated throughout the scene with a collection of tracks supplemented in two EPs– Through the Sulfur Eyes and a self-titled. Now, their arsenal of hedonistic riffs and drudge filled lyrics have come to head in their debut full-length Ascendant Blasphemy.
The opening track, “Nothing is Sacred”, who by its doom worship, creates an image of five people in hooded, black cloaks, trudging through a snow-filled forest with the moonlight being their only source of visual aid, their objective being to commence a ritual. The intensity builds to an upheaval of blast beats and tremolo riffing of the black metal liaison, replacing the frozen landscape with an inferno, the five figures centered within, chanting in unison to ensure that all that is blasphemous has successfully ascended. The next few tracks pervade with their respective heaviness– “Lay Fire” blasts hard from the word go, basking in the glory of the sheer black metal speed, before dissolving to a sluggish doomy drag, followed by “Blood Runs Not” which is layered with elongated screams complimenting the bottomless riffs.
However, I regret to say that it’s around this album’s halfway point where it began to lose me. The songs all began to bleed together to the point where I had difficulty telling them apart. There were some standout sections here and there—“Of Quivering Doves” has a sinister and gripping intro and “In Exitium Caeli” has a good back and forth between the guitars’ low and high ends. It was more/less the pieces of certain tracks that garnered my attention but couldn’t hold it in place. While I don’t feel that the music is intended to be so flat, I feel the production definitely is. Certain areas could have been toggled in the mix to give them the proper presentation, be it lowered or accentuated, and put forth to more greatly enhance the identity of each song. Even more so to accurately translate what ailed the band to create such an intently destructive record. Metal is not background music, it’s intended to be punchy and visceral—I need to feel it.
While not a terrible record by any means, I look at it the same way a coach looks at their team, wanting nothing more than to get the best performance out of them. And as fans, we need to show our active and consistent support, even in the midst of a subpar performance.