The Ashen Abhorrence (Debemur Morti Productions) is the debut album from Finnish duo Pestilence Hex, who delivers a full-on blast of heavily old-school Norwegian-influenced black metal. The project brings together vocalist M.Malignant (Corpsessed / Tyranny) and multi-instrumentalist L.Oathe (Desolate Shrine / Convocation) two musicians better known in death/doom circles, but who certainly appear to also know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to the black stuff.
First impressions land with the artwork which is particularly retro and evil-looking, and could have come straight off one of the iconic records of the dark and dismal second-wave scene of the 1990s. It sets the tone for the music perfectly which opens with the title track with fast heavy sweeping guitars, and shrieking vocals which are used with a subtlety in the mix and are not to over powering. Also sitting deep in the track are ethereal sounding keys which at times create an operatic feel not too dissimilar from early Emperor.
‘Chapter Two : Nature Of The Spirit’ continues the theme with a captivating guitar hook and an intricate arrangement with changes of pace throughout. A dropped spoken word section delivered with a spit of venom, brings forth comparisons to Dani Filth and the classical/operatic composition of keys later in the track again show an influence of a classic Cradle Of Filth sound.
And throughout the whole record, this is what you get from start to finish. Dark and malevolent black metal mixed with grand symphonic melodies; powerful vocals supported by fast and furious guitar work; sublime drumming mixing blast beats and double kicks, with plenty of tasty fills throughout.
Whether you are listening to an off-key piano riff and mesmeric instrumental interludes on ‘Mephistophelean Liaison’, or an intro of nefariously eerie guitars which explode into life with a blast of feedback on ‘Old Hag’, before progressing to a grandiose cinematic climax, your ears will certainly be well catered for if the likes of Behemoth and Immortal are your bag.
The album at only six tracks (with one being a short atmospheric interlude) certainly does not out stay its welcome, and by the time it ends with the compelling and pulsating climax of ‘Banishment’, it’s clear that this is a duo who having forsaken a ‘trendy’ post-black metal style and have produced a record solely interested in paying homage to the roots of the sound, doing the scene justice in the process.
Buy the album here: https://pestilenthex.bandcamp.com/album/the-ashen-abhorrence-2
7 / 10