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