Blaze of Perdition Near Death Revelations - 01Metal addresses death regularly, running the gamut from cartoonish violence to sobering reflection, but ultimately we do our best to avoid reflecting on the most pressing death in our lives: our own. The fragility of life and our ever-present drift toward death is sometimes thrust into one’s immediate vision, forcing them to confront the terrifying final frontier for every human being. Such was the case for Polish black metal band Blaze of Perdition, who were involved in a terrible road accident in 2013 which tragically took the life of bassist Ikaroz and left vocalist S. and drummer Vizun seriously injured, with the former temporarily in a coma. Near Death Revelations, the band’s third studio album, sees men who witnessed the death of a friend and faced their own put this harrowing experience to music.

Blaze of Perdition combines the atmospheric riffing and leads of Hellenic black metal (DevathornAcherontas), the shining melodic tendencies associated with Swedish black metal (NaglfarDissection), and a less alien take on the swirling dissonance characteristic of “avant-garde” or “third wave black metal” (Deathspell OmegaImperial Triumphant) into something at once calming, frightening, methodical, and foreboding that reminds me of Australian black metallers Erebus Enthroned. This creates a fifty-four minute experience that often remains at a relatively mid-tempo pace to showcase guitar and bass interplay broken up by frantic and frequently dissonant sections, with musical calms and storms in constant flux.

The calm is where Blaze of Perdition excel, as many of the melodic passages have a somber and pensive tone that fits incredibly well with the record’s overarching theme. “Of No Light” sees the band in peak form, winding through a well-written series of melodies that evoke a feeling of inevitable finality instead of hope. What sounds like a black metal take on Chopin’s “Funeral March” at the 4:50 mark is at once short-lived and potent, and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t add some emotional heft to an already heavy track. S.’s tortured vocal performance throughout “When Mirrors Shatter” contrasts greatly with the melodic instrumentals behind it, adding some gravitas to the proceedings whilst mercifully not sounding like forced histrionics. “Cold Morning Fears” is enjoyable, coming across as a more interesting, varied, and melodic take on Behemoth’s Demigod direction in spots. The extended midsection showcases some nifty guitar interplay as well, becoming a standout moment on the record.

Blaze of Perdition Near Death Revelations - 02By now, it should be obvious that I think Near Death Revelations is good. Unfortunately, I cannot go further up the ratings scale than that, as much as I’d like to. Opener “Królestwo Niczyje” is comprised of mostly good parts, but comes across as overlong and occasionally disjointed, with the arbitrary ambient section killing the flow of the song for a solid minute and detracting from the enjoyment. “Dreams Shall Flesh” is uneven from a songwriting standpoint, with a bland first third and an decent coda that unfortunately overstays its welcome. “Into the Void Again” loses its way in its midsection with a nondescript blast-backed passage that’s neither here nor there quality-wise, sounding like a means to the band reaching an extended but good melodic finale. While none of these songs are bad, the record only has six tracks proper, which serves to make a couple of lesser songs a fairly significant issue.

Each member of Blaze of Perdition turns in a confident and professional performance on Near Death Revelations, especially bassist Revenger whose crunchy and always audible tone works wonders in tandem with his interesting and diverse playing. Vizun’s kick drum is a bit on the weak side in terms of production, but he gives a stellar performance nonetheless. The fairly squashed mastering job doesn’t confer a whole lot of power onto the explosive parts of the record, such as when “Into the Void Again” really kicks in after the crackling sound of the intro. While it isn’t a huge bane to the listening experience, a more dynamic master would’ve served the record well.

Blaze of Perdition may not have gotten an incredibly high score, but make no mistake: these guys rebounded after a tragedy that could have easily been the end of the band and released a good record, and for that they have my complete admiration and respect. While on a whole Near Death Revelations tends towards being overextended, there are some prime cuts among the fat that I’ll be returning to throughout the year. Welcome back, gentlemen.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Agonia Records
Websites: Bandcamp/BlazeofPerdition | Facebook.com/BlazeofPerdition
Release Dates: Out Worldwide: 06.26.2015

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  • De2013

    Wow, I like the embedded track. Will check it out.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Nice art

    • De2013

      Yeah caught my eye as well.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Yes, it’s Triptych-like, though with only two panels. This band tends to have real good cover art.

  • Martin Knap

    A good thing about this record is that they sing in Polish, often times English lyrics are almost incomprehensible when non-English speakers sing them in harsh vocals. I can’t understand them, but I speak a language close to Polish enough to know that they are comprehensible, which can really add to the listening experience (especially with black metal), if they have something to say. It worked for me this way with Total Negation.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      To my knowledge only the first track is in Polish, but you raise a good point; the “grey area” just sucks, and plenty of bands from non-native English countries reside there. I get the impression that plenty of people nowadays just ignore the lyrics (and listen inattentively or otherwise distracted all the time, but that’s a matter for another discussion), so the incomprehensibility you mention is unfortunately easily ignored for the most part.

      • Martin Knap

        I wasn’t aware that it was only this one song, that’s a real shame.

      • Oberon

        There’s a difference between playing Behemoth’s the Satanist for background music and truly listening/understanding the lyrics.

        Most people I work just get stuck on the vocalist and blast beating, and don’t bother beyond thst

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          I found the production really betrayed that album upon close listening (I own the CD version, for what it’s worth). They tried for some nuanced lyrics and added more variation and dynamics to their sound, but none of it could really breathe due to their insistence on brickwalling everything. The cool drum buildup in “Amen” in particular was awful, as it sounded like they redlined the drums at their climax and the explosion back into death metal fell flat due to being a touch quieter.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Martin, are you familiar with A Hill To Die Upon? They’re one of the few bands whose lyrics are discernable despite the harsh vocals. A good thing, since the lyrics are actually quite well written. If they’re new to you, I’d recommend their Holy Despair release.

      • Martin Knap

        No, I don’t know them, I’ll give them a listen right away, thanks.

        • Norfair Legend

          A Hill To Die Upon are fantastic…and from around my parts as well. I still like Infinite a wee better than Holy but both are a great addition to your listening rotation.

      • AndySynn

        Cross your fingers and click your heels together three times… and I might just be able to help them get across to Europe/UK next year (here’s hoping).

    • basenjibrian

      On an unrelated but related note, there is the Russian band Kauan. Great band. But, despite being 1,000 miles+ away from the border, they sing in FINNISH. I am assuming this is because of TENHI worship, but this always struck me as really odd!

  • Doomdeathrosh

    So the return is not as triumphant as Nergal, but a great job nonetheless! And kudos to a strong return!

  • Wow, this sounds outstanding. Will be picking this up.

  • Roquentin

    This is really good from them, on par with The Hierophant.

  • basenjibrian

    I am really digging this band’s back catalog.