Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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Label: Moon Records / Eternal Death

Date: July 8th, 2022

About a year later, I’m back with this quartet from the Philippines. Their previous full length effort left me with surprisingly good impressions, with regard to the rest of what I’ve heard from the archipelago. That being said, the bar is raised this time. Especially with Omenfilth’s fourth full length record. The previous one was good enough so that I needed more from its follow-up.

Sadly, not this time. The potential on display with “Devourer of the Seven Moons” was not fully exploited. And that’s really unfortunate, particularly when you account for the fact that “Possessed by the Pentacle Spell” is, again, a good record. Or better to say, good enough once again.

The main difference between the two records is the almost complete absence of Omenfilth’s native music and lyrical elements. The album is much more straight-forward than its predecessor. It’s almost a pure black metal manifest, with certain primeval thrash elements and additions of old school melodic death metal touches. As for the lyrics, the evil is still there, but in a washed-out, satanic principle of the testaments.

Though, I must admit, the creative imagination of the quartet still holds its own. The songs are neatly arranged, filled with diverse pieces that fit together and are combined in a definite flow. The lyrics, too, are no simplistic hails to the devil. However, in both aspects there is a noticeable lack of that extra step forward that will separate Omenfilth from the masses. On their home front, “Possessed by the Pentacle Spell” is by far the dominant record which should secure them the position of absolute rulers of Philippines’ black metal. But when you put this album side by side with the counterparts worldwide, this will not have them stand up and be counted.

While I’m at the negatives of the album, Omenfilth desperately needs to find better solutions for vocal arrangements. Especially in longer lines of text, where the vocalist most often just mumbles half the line. That is not acceptable and makes the otherwise solid, obscure screams seem weak and unconvincing.

On the plus side, I must once again declare that “Possessed by the Pentacle Spell” is a good record. There are some intriguing riffs here. Drums play an unusually significant role in the feel of certain tracks. Bass guitar is somewhat hidden from plain sight but does the job correctly. Also, Omenfilth are not shy about using guitar solos which serve really well, in particular in songs that are a bit more on the raw side of black metal. The album is rhythmically diverse, offering much more than relentless high speed blasting all over the place.

With the songs that could remind you of Dark Funeral, Dissection, Gorgoroth, Mayhem, Darkthrone, Venom and all the other greats of the genre, one must admit this is an honest effort by honest black metal fans. The influences may be out there for the world to hear, but Omenfilth is not copying anyone. They are able to form their own songs that you cannot say “you’ve heard before”.

But like I said, they’re just not great, unforgettable or must-have classics in the making. They are good, and less critical black metal fans would definitely get a kick out of “Possessed by the Pentacle Spell”. As for me, personally, I sincerely hope fifth time is the charm.


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