Strychnos Drops Armageddon Patronage: A Bold Resurgence in Black/Death Metal

Originally forming back in 1998, things were pretty quiet in the Strychnos camp for many years. But of late, things have changed. This Black/Death Metal trio have recently been making a name for themselves as rising denizens of the underground with recent festival appearances. Now Copenhagen’s purveyors of “accursed death” are back with their second full-length, the hellishly titled Armageddon Patronage, two years after their debut full-length, A Mother’s Curse.

Strychnos – Armageddon Patronage (Dark Descent Records)

Release Date: 17 May 2024

Words: Jools Green

Strychnos - Armageddon Patronage album cover
Strychnos – Armageddon Patronage – “This release will showcase a natural continuation of what A Mother’s Curse began.”

Regarding this latest offering, bassist/vocalist Martin Leth Andersen said “This release will showcase a natural continuation of what A Mother’s Curse began. The band seek to refine and push further key elements from the debut – in ways of both aggressiveness and the more atmospheric parts. 

“This follow-up also showcases an array of new details like alternative instrumentation, vocal variations, intros, outros, and a couple of noticeable guest appearances,” most notably Michael Poulsen (Volbeat, Dominus).

The eight-track, forty-three-minute offering opens with Winds Warning The Final Storm, on which, after a torrent of searing riffs the pace opens out into one that is slow, deliberate and crushing. It is immediately impactful. The sound is dense and fuzzy, the vocals raw and protracted and drum rhythms precise. As the track progresses, the pace ebbs and build in subtle unnerving waves, finally fading out hauntingly. An impressive start.

Continuing in that impactfully crushing and engaging manner, the next piece, Armageddon Patronage, opens on terrifying screams over fuzzy riffing, delivered at a faster, more intense pace than the predecessor. With the acidic protracted vocals cutting through, you also get an engaging repeat dropped in between chugging riffs. Dropping back to a haunting, more melodic mood, as the pace rebuilds, the riffing turns more blackened and at the zenith, repeated shouts of “Armageddon Patronage!” bring a haunting fade out.

Choking Salvation returns to the slower pace of the opener, with blackened bursts and layers of bleak, clean backing vocals and a haunting repeat. Throughout, there are bursts of harrowing screams and cries echoing in the background and a closing burst of hauntingly bleak leadwork for good measure. A closing repeat of “Choking Salvation” before the fade out marks a harrowingly powerful piece.

Endless Void Dimension initially takes a different slant with its eerie keyboard-led opener. When the riffs arrive, it’s in fuzzy crushing bursts with a haunting backing vocal element. A gut-wrenching scream sees the sound deepen and intensify. But the Strychnos pace remains slow and deliberate, developing a chug as the raw vocal content arrives. You also get clean vocal towards the close melding with rawer content. A superbly bleak and dark piece, the depth of which is almost as endless as the void itself. 

The sound of bird calls melds with haunting guitars as Pale Black Birds opens. Heavy fuzzy riffs join with the tempo ramping up but rarely getting beyond a mid-pace. Blackening at the arrival of the superbly protracted raw vocals, the sound is lifted with melodic bursts, the direction winding subtly yet complexly. With the leadwork set cleverly to the back, this adds to the atmosphere and depth rather than being a prominent feature.

Building dramatically, initially just keyboard drone and timpani, Stanken Af Dyd (The Stench Of Virtue) opens out with pounding rhythms, searing raw vocals and hypnotic repeating blackened riffs interspersed with faster, more intense swathes. Together, these manifest as a complex, powerful chugger that has superbly unpredictable ebbs and builds. The layers of vocals that make up the choral chants from midway through the second half and, in the more reflective closing fadeout, are superb. An excellent track.

Penultimate offering, Sweeping Storm Of Suicide, is another predominantly mid-pace chugger, with intense blackened bursts between the vocals. But as it progresses, the complex nature gradually unfolds. It’s a crushingly weighty, attention-grabbing beast of a track, out of which crawls the final piece. 

The dark, haunting Nattevandrerinden (The Night Wanderer), with its raw, acidic vocal delivery, is an engagingly bleak meandering piece. It is lifted by bursts of blackened riffing, contrasted by quieter segments. An extensive blast of searing soaring leadwork midway through the second half gives way to a torrent of blackened riffs overlaid with a spoken element before the final fade out.

Strychnos – Armageddon Patronage is a superb chunk of well-delivered Black/Death Metal. It will be available in either CD, vinyl, cassette or digital format via Soulfood (GER), Sound Pollution (SWE), Code7/PHD (UK).

Sleeve Notes

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