A.I.D.S. - _Syndrome of the End Approaching_
(Serpens Caput Productions, 2006)
by: Andreas Marouchos (7 out of 10)
One-man bands seem to be en vogue in the US black metal scene. Here we have yet another promising such act added to the ranks of USBM, manned by one Tophetarath, perhaps more known for his work with outfits such as Lonewalker, Fog, Nokturnel and Hordes of the Lunar Eclipse.

Bristling with a gritty attitude, things are quite simple with A.I.D.S. No intricate melodies, and no northern romanticisms either. All we've got is a boisterous chaos of violent black metal reminiscent of class acts such as Black Witchery and Blasphemy, although with less of the scuzz. "Necrovore" (an eye-poking nod towards the early movements of black metal primitivism) and "Hoc Est Enim Corpus Meum" are prime examples of the aforementioned description.

Riffage is, as proper 'decorum' dictates, eardrum-scraping and relentless, carried on fast tempos. The 'buried' production provides even more in the way of rawness, while the tense drumming adds to the charm of the music. Slower, moodier passages sporadically also crop out, in contrast to other outfits of their ilk, where breakneck speeds are uninhibitedly propelled throughout the album lest they give a break to the unstoppable blasts.

Unfortunately though, there are parts where what Tophetarath is trying to achieve eludes me and evades the real essence of the record. However, the musical mayhem that is sported is in equal measures dirty, vulgar and hateful, and ultimately efficient in conveying the album's ominous concept.

As a final note, the uninitiated should stay at a fair distance; this could well turn out to be one of the worst headaches of their lives.

Contact: http://www.myspace.com/theensomberoom/

(article published 2/8/2006)

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