Soundchecks Music Reviews
The Ajna Offensive
review by Octavio Ramos Jr
Canada's new band Weapon unleashes their opening salvo, titled Drakonian Paradigm, upon the restless horde. The core sound here is a combination of black and death metal. However, Weapon's first album is more than it seems, as each track is upon first lesson relatively straightforward and intense. Subsequent plays reveal the intricate layers that went into each song. The underlying proficiency displayed on the instrumentation is stellar, with hard-hitting rhythms underscored with wailing and riff-heavy guitar solos and a clean and relentless battery.
There's an international flavour to each track, ranging from Middle-Eastern guitar stings to Norwegian-driven structures and Greek-styled rhythms from the likes of Rotting Christ and Varathron. Guitarists Vetis Monarch and Vileblood Dahcnial churn out some truly stellar riffs, which tap into the grind-heavy sounds of death metal, the wailing and hissing styles associated with black metal, and the hook-lined fret burners associated with conventional heavy metal and the new wave of British heavy metal. Percussionist The Disciple (Rites Of Thy Degringolade and Warmarch) is a little snare-heavy, but otherwise keeps things moving at a frenetic pace. Bassist Sabazios Diabolus (Lust and Ouroboros) keeps to the shadows, his low notes felt more than heard.
Lead vocals are handled by Monarch, but he gets able assists from the other band members. The style here is a combination of guttural and high-end rasps, with a primitive bark thrown in for good measure. Intonation is relatively clear, enough to discern much of the lyrical output. Acoustic guitars and even piano add a sense of the majestic, giving tracks like Archana a slightly symphonic and at times gothic sound.
Lyrically, Weapon are concerned with what could be termed as international evil. Although Lucifer is mentioned often, the band links his antics with the likes of Kali (Serpentine Ayat) and the Qliphoth (Drakonian Paradigm: The Flame Of All). The lyrics come off as incantations, the stanzas rich in lush metaphor and bizarre rituals. The end goal of the band is to demonstrate that evil is not limited to one ideology or time - the baser emotions are ancient and find outlets in all beliefs.
Weapon represent a new path for black metal, one that acknowledges the rawness of past sound but embellishes it with technical proficiency (without sacrificing the intensity) and a sense of the majestic. Harnessing the power of past masters such as Mayhem and Gorgoroth and adding just enough Emperor or Enslaved into the mix, Weapon have emerged with a relentless appetite. Drakonian Paradigm could easily be one of the top-ten black metal releases for 2009. Yes, it's that good.
for PIGASUS Press