It never fails to amaze me how so many of Poland's excellent Extreme Metal bands seem to exist beneath the radar and Pandemonium have managed to do just that for over twenty years. Active since 1990, these Dark Lords of Metal call their style Satanic Dark Metal.
'Misanthropy' is their fourth full length album and the follow up to 2007s 'Hellspawn', a complex, stunning presentation of musical mastery. It is a very atmospheric album with an interesting approach to Blackened Extreme Metal. The combination of excellent, insane vocals, a kind of pseudo howl from vocalist Paul that are very distorted, interspersed with agonising screams giving a very evocative and atmospheric feel to the album.
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Because of this though, you do need to consult the lyric sheet on first listen to appreciate the surreal and often complex lyrics and therefore fully appreciate the depth of thought behind each track.
Add to this the dirty, distorted sounding guitars, mingled with some beautifully complex riffs which at times have an exotic Eastern feel yet still manage to maintain a raw edge to the sound and you have a masterpiece made in Hell.
Besides Paul on vocals/guitars the band are; Michael on bass, Mark on guitars and Simon on drums. The album features Greek female vocalist Androniki Skoula (Chaostar) on backing vocals, who has also worked with Greek Extreme Metal bands Septic Flesh and Rotting Christ. The intros and samples on the album are by Khorzon (Arkona, Mussorgski).
'Misanthropy' opens with the first of eight tracks, the surreal, thought provoking 'The Black Forest', one of two tracks released on 'Promo' demo in 2010 and the other being the delightfully blasphemous 'God Delusion'.
I loved 'Necro Judas' for its tempo changes between a blackened dirge and frantic insanity, also featuring some of Paul's higher screams and snarls. 'The Stones Are Eternal' and 'Misanthropy', the album title track, both feature the vocal talents of the aforementioned Androniki Skoula on backing vocals, her voice lending an exotic feel to these tracks.
The wild card track, 'Avant-Garde Underground', certainly lives up to its name, with its slightly punky riffs, as it opens. If your concentration has dared to drift, the blasting 'Everlasting Opposition' will face slap you back to reality.
The album ends with 'Only The Dead Will See The End Of War', the thundering finale to the album, awash with crashing cymbals, exotic riffs and the ever present, snarling vocals.
The album was recorded, mixed and mastered by Piotr Tyszkiewicz at Viriam Art Studio. The cover artwork created by Paul, the band vocalist.
This excellent album is available now from Pagan Records. Do check it out!