Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Warloghe - Womb of Pestilence (2003)

Released in 2003, Womb of Pestilence is the second full-length album from Warloghe. In the four years between releases, the band managed to correct some of the problems that plagued the previous album and held it back from being as good as it could have been. The material here sounds like more of a natural continuation of what they began with The Black Tower and Unlighted, much moreso than The First Possession. This is one of those times when a band actually realized their potential, rather than disappointing.

Musically, this is much darker than anything on their first record. This is what many were expecting the last one to sound like. The songwriting is much more focused and there are no throwaway tracks. This is clear from the moment "Opened and Tainted Graves" begins. There is a sense of urgency and, most of all, feeling to the riffs. Everything fits together, cohesively, to create a very dark and gloomy atmosphere. Songs like "Fires Burn Black" really hearken back to the old Mütiilation demos and bring forth an ancient darkness to consume you whole. The compositions are more complete and dynamic, rather than each song being rather one-dimensional. There is still a rather straightforward approach, though with subtle additions that do a lot for the music, such as the slow sections in "Illuminating Void" and "Dark Spires Swirl in the Abyss". There are also slight changes in the drumming, here and there, that help to keep the songs from being too monotonous. The vocals sound much more possessed than on the last record, particularly the hellish wailing on "Corpse-Altar-Light". The effect is reminiscent of the demonic voices from 'The Evil Dead', but in a very serious manner. While some of the tremolo melodies on the last offering were a bit generic and failed to move the listener in any way, the riffs that make up Womb of Pestilence serve to haunt you and to create a very unsettling feeling that is sure to drag your spirit into the depths.

The production is more consistent and suits the music a lot more, compared to the last album. The guitars possess a very raw and, sometimes, grating quality that are likely to make your ears bleed if you turn the volume up. This is what an underground Black Metal album should sound like, as if it was recorded in some forgotten crypt. The vocals are high enough in the mix, throughout, rather than sometimes being buried as on the previous L.P. The drums are at a more appropriate level, as well, no longer dominating the sound. The guitars are firmly in control as the dominant element, as they should be, and the music benefits greatly from this. At a time when a lot of bands were going for a completely modern and plastic production, Warloghe's sophomore effort sounds like it could have been recorded a decade earlier.

Womb of Pestilence is a very solid album that deserves to be known much more than it is. This is what Mütiilation might have sounded like, around the same time, if Meyhna'ch had a real drummer and hadn't recorded his albums with such modern methods. Though some bands try very hard to proclaim themselves the standard-bearers of Black Metal, whoring themselves out in every possible way, Warloghe was simply keeping the black flame burning in a genuine manner, by creating dark and evil music that has stood the test of time. This should appeal to fans of the old LLN bands, such as Mütiilation, as well as modern Finnish bands like Sargeist and Horna. Buy this.