Reverence - Inactive Theocracy
Osmose Productions
Industrial/Post-Black Metal
9 songs (55:10)
Release year: 2009
Reverence, Osmose Productions
Reviewed by Goat

There’s something a lot more straightforward about the third album from French Industrial Black Mentalists Reverence, something more streamlined and less meandering than before. Taking the post-Blut Aus Nord path that served them so well on 2007’s Chamber Of Divine Elaboration, the band have hammered it into a laser-sharp weapon, increasing the number of aggressive riffs and infectiously catchy vocals without losing a bit of the ‘I’m-trapped-in-a-post-apocalyptic-landscape-oh-god-oh-god’ atmosphere that we know and love. That they’ve managed to take everything that makes them awesome and cut it down into a four-minute blast like Faith Design is impressive enough, but this is far from a commercialisation of the Reverence sound – the overwhelming majority of tracks present are six-minute-plus horrors that crawl along like a legless zombie.

Where other albums would make this zombie a hideous nightmare, however, Reverence are prepared to accept that there’s a silver lining, a fun side to the horror. The headbangable riffs that open Hypothetical Paths Of Silence are backed by big ominous synths, for example, before turning almost Jazzy as the guitars are dropped and drums become the dominant instrument. Hybrid Requiem Phenomenon opens with catchy electronics and wailing clean vocals, whilst The Axis Of Horror is surprisingly upbeat at times, verging on the Tool-y in one memorable section. The best moments undoubtedly come at the hands of drummer Vincent, his skilful battery more than completing the other instruments, all of which are, of course, excellent individually, but it’s the resulting combined wall of sound which makes the album so good, moving away from the darkness and more towards a series of epic invocations, all of which are highly effective.

If there’s an easy way to sum this up, it’s that Reverence are moving away from the harsh Industrial-Black world towards a more optimistic Post-Black world, with moments like the twisted vocals of Breath to act as flashbacks. To continue the metaphor I’ve started: you’ve been pursued by the unnamed terrors that lurk in the darkness, and have taken refuge aboard a strange alien spacecraft. If Chamber Of Divine Elaboration was the chase, then Inactive Theocracy is exploring the spaceship; the strange corridors and distant unearthly sounds replicated perfectly by the likes of When The Light Blossoms. The Last Chapter throws a nice curveball with its opening Church choirs, wonderfully cinematic in their splendour, and although the guitars start up a few seconds in the atmosphere isn’t spoiled at all as the track takes a proggy sort-of-Gojira-y turn with spiralling riffs and eerie ping-ing – presumably the sort of thing you’d hear if you took some acid and listened to Slayer on a submarine. Reverence, when all is said and done, are sure to disappoint those in search of a new Axis Of Perdition, but more than excellent for everyone else who don’t mind their weirdo Black Metal being actually enjoyable to listen to.

Killing Songs :
Faith Design, Breath, Hypothetical Paths Of Silence, The Axis Of Horror, The Last Chapter
Goat quoted 89 / 100
Other albums by Reverence that we have reviewed:
Reverence - The Asthenic Ascencion reviewed by Charles and quoted 85 / 100
Reverence - Chamber Of Divine Elaboration reviewed by Goat and quoted 87 / 100
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