Friday, 4 December 2015

One Master - ‘Reclusive Blasphemy’ (Album Review)

By: Daniel Jackson

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 21/07/2015
Label: Eternal Death


There is a lot of nuance and thought put into the peaks and valleys of these songs, which is unique given their otherwise orthodox style. I still believe that there is a lot from black metal’s early years that can be repurposed and implemented in new ways, and ‘Reclusive Blasphemy’ gives that belief further credibility. This is worth going out of your way to check out.


‘Reclusive Blasphemy’ CD//LP//DD track listing:

1. At the Hour of Saturn
2. A Cursed and Dismal Mind
3. Intolerance
4. Infernal Silence
5. Reclusive Blasphemy

One Master is:

Valder | Guitars, Vocals
Doctor Messiah | Guitars
Black Wolf | Bass
Blood Eagle | Drums

The Review:

As much as black metal in the United States has a reputation in 2015 for having strong ties to post-metal or shoegaze, its formative years was every bit as musically barbaric and grim as its European counterparts. Many of the reviews published closer to this album’s release mention Judas Iscariot as a clear influence, but I think that has more to do with the overall feel of the album rather than a direct compositional link.

In a sense, One Master is a throwback to those primal years for American black metal, back before Weakling’sDead as Dreams’ became such a big part of what would influence future bands from the States. On ‘Reclusive Blasphemy’ the approach is a lot more harsh and unrelenting like certain parts of Krieg’s work in the early 2000s. Part of what gives the album such an abrasive feel is a largely stripped-down and dead production. The guitars are thicker in tone compared to the more traditional raw black metal recording techniques, and the drums have a sort of muffled/flat quality to them that in this case is a benefit rather than a hindrance. The snare drum is front and center, driving everything forward with a relentless pace for much of the album.

Strangely, the weakest song on the album is the opener, “At the Hour of Saturn”. The song is centered around higher pitched lead guitar parts, more in line with what you might hear from early Liturgy or Krallice, which really betrays the direction of the album as a whole. Once you’re beyond that song, the rest of the album really takes shape and there’s a lot more to sink your teeth into. “A Cursed and Dismal Mind” takes its time and builds to a cathartic release using massive downbeats and twisting guitar riffs at a much more reserved tempo. When the song finally erupts with blasting fury, it sets the rest of the album up for a recurring, but satisfying cycle of frenzy and release.

While One Master may have the same broader musical intent of many of the old American black metal pioneers, it never comes across as a rehash of old ideas. There is a lot of nuance and thought put into the peaks and valleys of these songs, which is unique given their otherwise orthodox style. I still believe that there is a lot from black metal’s early years that can be repurposed and implemented in new ways, and ‘Reclusive Blasphemy’ gives that belief further credibility. This is worth going out of your way to check out.


You can pick up a digital copy here and a CD/LP copy here




Band info: Facebook

No comments: