Review: Bliss Of Flesh – Empyrean

Carrying forth with their own brand of violence, French black/death metallers Bliss of Flesh have once more utilized their obscure sound to finally offer the concluding branch of their conceptual trilogy concerning Dante’s Inferno. Following a five-year gap between releases, the group’s third full-length effort was originally released July 7, 2017 on Listenable Records.

From the onset, this one offers up plenty of strong and pounding work that carries their past glories into a grand stylistic explosion throughout here. Efforts like Ascension, Penitent and Exercitus Caelorium utilize rabid, pummeling tremolo riffing with plenty of harmonious melodies and blistering rhythms throughout here, giving the whole affair the charge and bite of the most vicious blackened offerings. The slightly calmer affairs such as Agnus Dei or the two-part title-track Last Kingdom and Miserere Mei offer the kind of variety that resigns itself into vicious bursts of blastbeats while slowing the ferocity down from the more ravenous extremes into a strong mid-tempo crunch with plenty of keyboard symphonics which add immensely during the slower sections. Given that the majority of the album rumbles along with these strong switch-ups between the thick, charging atmospheres and the slower sections, this gives the album a wholly enjoyable dynamic that also highlights the relatively dire lack of any real variety throughout here. Since hardly anything here actually differs much from each other, it’s hard to tell the tracks apart which is what’s supposed to happen in a concept album but really does bring this down when looking at it in terms of being heard separately out of that context. Likewise, the fact that there’s just not as much rabid blasting does offer a bit of a problem, but otherwise, there’s not a lot to dislike here.

Although it’s somewhat of a let-down in that there’s not much of a difference in the band’s music all that much, the fact that what is present is so much fun anyway that it offers up a serviceable and even downright engaging turn for those that have followed the band’s previous work or are fans of this style of black/death in general. 8/10

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