Front Beast // Demon Ways of Sorcery
Rating: 2.0/5.0 — Don’t be fooled by promises of damp dungeons!
Label: Hells Headbangers Records
Websites: Facebook.com/FrontBeastOfficial
Release Dates: EU: 2013.08.20 | US: 09.03.2013

FRONTBEASTDemonWaysOfSorceryCoverWhen a band intimates that their album has the charm and atmosphere of a dark, damp dungeon and that it’s packed with bone-dry, ardent, miserable vocals reminiscent of Aske era Burzum it’s begging to get picked off the promo pile. German band Front Beast, signed to Hells Headbangers and led by sole member Evil Avenger, whetted my appetite with just such a boast on their second full length release Demon Ways of Sorcery. It looks like the Evil Avenger has been stumbling along spreading misery and Satan’s message over 24 split releases, EPs and demos, one compilation and a previous album released back in 2006 and judging by this back-history he’s not giving up on his mission any time soon…

Demon Ways of Sorcery kicks off in head-splitting fashion with “Bearer of Satan’s Flame”. While the title certainly attracts me, the flame dies a little when it feels like you’re dumped into the middle of the track without any ceremony. The tune hits you with a messy cacophony of echoing screams, harsh, clashing drums and a very stale guitar riff that’s repeated over and over and over. The track tears at your nerves for well on seven minutes and just when you think it’s heading towards closure, it comes back with the same stale riff to torture you a little more.

Tracks like “Blackness into Eternity” and “Filling Skulls with Angels Blood” showcase the Evil Avenger’s misanthropic vocal style that consists mostly of agonizing, reverberating, incoherent screams and almost chewed up, mumbled chanting. You’ll see for yourself no doubt, but at best I can compare him to a more brazen and grating blend of Nocturno Culto (Darkthrone from the Under a Funeral Moon era) and oddly enough Niklas Kvarforth (Swedish Shining, from the I: Within Deep Dark Chambers era).

FRONT BEAST photoThere are only a few tracks that managed to hold my attention with prolonged play. “Heathen Night” for its fat, heavy bass riff that’s enhanced by a few moments of Agalloch riff-envy around the half-way mark, “Blackness Into Eternity” and “Inverted Bloody Cross” for their perverse guitar solos that consort with some of the better drum patterns shrouded deep in the low-fi clutter and the thrashy incantation “Filling Skulls With Angels Blood”.

At most, Demon Ways of Sorcery is low-fi black metal trying to achieve an old-school feel that’s been done before and better by countless other bands  before the Evil Avenger donned his Front Beast mantle. With the brazen entry into “Bearer of Satan’s Flame” my hackles rose and the first couple of listens through Demon Ways of Sorcery left me more filled with rage than delight – that seething rage has eased off a little now. Ultimately the tracks I mentioned earlier grew on me and I’m left feeling that had this been a 4-track EP release it would have been sufficient [So…what the Hell is a “Front Beast”??Steel Druhm].

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  • David Rosales

    It’s always fun to read negative reviews :p
    Going only by the description you wrote I would’ve given this a 1.0…

    A bad Burzum+Darkthrone (so not original at all) with no soul. Is it worth anything?

    • Madam__X

      It’s a disappointment for sure, but doesn’t leave me filled with rage, for that alone it earned its 2.0 lol. I’m more inclined to say pick up Burzum’s release from May if you haven’t already :)

      • David Rosales

        I think the stricter and harsher you are, even with the releases you like makes the rating more meaningful and both you and the more objective part of your audience (that excludes mindless fanboys and people who just ‘consume’ music as toilet paper — these want a 9/10 or 10/10 for everything they like) are more satisfied when you actually find something that FINALLY earned something above a 3.5. Those were the glory days at AMG, in my opinion. Funny thing is, I always found something in AMG’s 4s but it was the 5’s that I just found weird! I guess when you say something is perfect it really is entirely subjective and objectivity goes out of the window, maybe because perfection is not actually attainable.

        • The glory days are over??? Meh.

          • David Rosales

            hahaha! Well I thought that this year when I saw too many albums rated a 3.5 or more. That makes me highly suspicious, specially when I see White Wizard’s release get a 5 (perfect? that turd?), Amon Amarth’s a 4 (Great? this is average and common, yes, cool, but just… there…), Witherscape’s a 4 (As much as I enjoy listening to this ball of cliche cheese, this is not great. Incongruous writing with some great moments amongst a sea of average cliches taken from different genres).

          • I’ve given maybe five or so albums a score over 3.5 all year and only one 4.5. When you have a staff of reviewers you’re bound to disagree with some of them, but to say we overrate stuff is insane. Go look at the average scores on other sites.

          • David Rosales

            Compared to the average website, you go harder on the albums, that’s true. That’s the reason why I keep coming back here and always pay attention!
            But remember being “good compared to the rest” is not the same as being excellent.
            My comments may be annoying but I am avid supporter of this blog. My criticism is given in love (though delivered as a punch to the face with a steel gauntlet) !

          • Well, we always appreciate reader feedback, even when delivered in “steel punch” format. We strive for excellence and with some new writers coming on staff, we will continue to fight the good fight against rating inflation, objectivism, communism and expensive beer.

      • David Rosales

        oh, and yes! I have been enjoying Burzum’s. Trying to understand those tracks a bit more, in a way of speaking. Did you like that release? (it has freakin’ long name in a tongue I do not speak!)

        • Madam__X

          I’m enjoying it muchly – It reminds me a lot of Ulver’s Teaching in Silence which has a special place in my heart. Lol yeah on the name thing that’s why I didn’t reference it either ;)

  • DrChocolate

    Front Beast? Is that a euphemism? …thinks a moment… “Man, her front beast is raging.” Yeah, that’s a euphemism, and I just adopted it into my language.

    • Shahir Chagan

      Why would any band would call itself Front Beast without having a sexual innuendo related to it?