Canada is rife with excellent death and black metal acts right now, and Weapon can be counted among them. I’ve seen them live twice and they perform quite well, and while they’re not as occult styled as their west coast brothers Mitochondrion or as disturbing and enigmatic as Antediluvian they hold their own in a nice enclave they’ve carved for themselves within the crowded genre.
Embers And Revelations is their third studio record arriving two years after From the Devil’s Tomb which was a hellish squall of riffs, mixing raw black energy and splashes of melodic or progressive death. It was a big step up from their first record and showed that Weapon write strongly and have great promise, leaving room to grow with each release while laying down top notch death metal. Embers And Revelations takes the progress they made in From the Devil’s Tomb and refining it further to display 37 minutes of prime black/death metal.
It clocks in a little shorter than their previous releases but with no less quality. A clear production brings out the sting in each riff, the rumble of each kick, the smooth bounce of the bass, and hoarse growl uttered from the vocalists. The guitars do feel a little thinner here in comparison however like there’s something missing to bulk up the space. Vocally there’s a mix of yelled-clean chants at points while the majority of the tracks have that gritty, throaty rasp, deeper at some points — not much different from their past outings which is fine.
As in the past the drums spend a lot of time pummelling and rarely slow down, but they don’t crowd the rest of the instruments, while the bass presence is felt throughout each song quite heavily. It’s never lost in the song and peaks it’s head above things on rare occasions, though mostly strictly following with great weight the rhythm laid down by the guitarists.
The music retains a subtle eastern flair in their style (more pronounced from the last record) still glimpsed in the scales and solo’s that wind their way all over this record. It doesn’t serve as a foundation for their style like Melechesh or Nile but it can be felt on occasion.
Weapon spew torrents of jagged riffs with each step here. Their sound is distinct straddling thrashy black metal and more progressive or melodic death metal seen in later-era Death. While it’s not drastically different from their last outing it is still packed full of delicious shredding, machine gun kick blasts, and satanic utterances worthy of spinning repeatedly. They continue to make use of well placed pinched harmonics, long tremolo passages and heavy, palm-muted gallops between the soaring, flashy solos that come straight from the old school of shred. The formula is simple and executed exceedingly well with a lot of energy, while still displaying a reserved technicality that impresses (particularly in solos).
Admittedly on the first couple of listens there’s nothing here as captivating as say “Lefthandpathyoga” or “The Inner Wolf” from their previous LP, but Embers And Revelations still has plenty of tightly written songs wrapped in a fiery, ancient atmosphere. There is no shortage of shit to bang your head to. “Vanguard Of The Morning Star” has a nice set of building, tremolo riffs where the melodic aspect disappears mostly, while “Crepuscular Swamp, Unhinged Swine” contains some chunky, slow rhythms peppered with harmonic bends (which I do love) between the low snaking tremolos — and then right at the 3:30 mark an evil riff to grab you.
During the course of this record I do find myself getting a slight case of deja vu when I coming across a couple of riffs which sound very similar to those found in their last record. They work well and are arranged far apart so it’s not a deal breaker but it seemed a little lazy if deliberate. “Shahenshah” has one or two of these sections, and is the longest track on the record with one of the more flashy solos near the end. It’s a much slower trek then the rest of the album, cauterizing it with ‘aun’ moans by the end.
Actually from the opener “The First Witnesses Of Lucifer” you can hear some carry over from their last record (specifically some of the rhythms in stuff like “The Inner Wolf”) as well. Starting with a bit of occult ambience and then a slow chord section as the vocals rise before launching into a full on attack — galloping opens and then a sweepy solo before returning to the meat. A particularly nice riff emerges about halfway in and repeats not long after, harmonized while another solo rips in front.
It seems there’s more of an emphasis on refining their style in shorter bursts with a slightly more blackened edge. You can hear this in the aggressive “Liber Lilith”, deceptive at first with it’s triumphant and gleaming opening moments, but suddenly falling into a chaotic, dark vortex of black metal. It continues to get faster, writhing in a similar fashion to the title track of their last album — bursting into a very thrashy solo before settling down to the opening tempo for the last stretch. “Disavowing Each In Aum” is another example of cutting things down to a more filthy level, rough and straight to the point with stormy rhythms and unending kicker barrages. Only near the end do things become more textured with a brief use of effects.
In “Grotesque Carven Portal” and “Embers And Revelations” (which could easily have been a single track) we can hear their style switch from a mysterious melodic spiral into a dirty and dark pit of middle eastern black metal. The first (very short) has an ominous ambient swell prior to the guitars and cymbals entering, at which point this instrumental picks up quite quickly; the main feature being an impressive solo before leading into the next track seamlessly. It follows with a hail of black fury that drives forward with only one break for martial chanting, leading into further depraved shred.
In the end Embers And Revelations is another notch in Weapon’s belt which they can be proud of. I think I like From the Devil’s Tomb a bit more but this new entry in their catalog is satiating regardless. While they’re not breaking new ground entirely with this record I don’t think that’s the point — Weapon conjure the best from each genre, refine their skills and mould it with their formula into something quite pleasing. They deliver here some fervent, chaotic blackened death metal of great quality.
I recommend you get on top of this band if you already haven’t at this point and pick up Embers And Revelations (or preorder it) over at Relapse Records. You can listen to the title track on their bandcamp page.