Weapon - Drakonian Paradigm
Ajna Offensive
Blackened Death Metal
7 songs (40:35)
Release year: 2009
Weapon, The Ajna Offensive
Reviewed by Goat

One of the most common criticisms of Satanic Metal today is that it reserves its venom for the Christians only. "If organised religion is so terrible," runs the argument, "then why not criticise the ones that actually do half of what they're accused of? Muslims are the ones blowing shit up and oppressing women - let's insult them for a change!" Whilst it's true that Satanism is supposed to be about more than causing a few tuts from Christians, I think it's expecting a bit much from bedroom Black Metal bands to prod at an topic already so controversial. A good part of Black Metal's appeal is the escapism of its dark atmosphere, after all, and taking note of issues that matter a little more than Lord Sathanas' dominion on earth would likely destroy the illusion, although there are, as ever, a few exceptions to the rule. The Meads Of Asphodel are one, taking in the pain and destruction of our modern world and making it part and parcel of their powerful anti-religious music. Anaal Nathrakh are another, writing the score for our modern world's Armageddon, and whilst there will always be the likes of New York's Taghut on the fringes, childish offensiveness being all they have to offer, bands that attack Islam are generally part of the NS-scene, hating everything different from themselves for their own twisted reasons.

Enter this particular Weapon, started by Bangladeshi frontman Vetis Monarch before his relocation to Canada, and from their 2005 EP Violated Hejab to this their debut full-length, with song titles including Remnants Of A Burnt Mosque (the song complete with backing sitar), the four-piece seem determined to make the Faithful choke on their Halal sausages with a subtle yet clear indictment of Islam in favour of good old Satanism. "Mohammed weeps like a broken parasite, and only the dead whisper Allahu-Akbar!" is about as straightforward as the heavily occultist lyrics get, and whilst Weapon are focused more on Satanic victory than bomb-shaped turbans, it's still quite a taboo for them to overcome. It speaks volumes for the Metal underground, however, that Weapon's step into the spotlight (and to my particular attention) is due to their skilful music rather than any tabloid-esque obsessions, and so Drakonian Paradigm has been touted as an above-average bit of Black-Death rather than a taboo-smashing masterpiece - I didn't even know about the Mosque burning mention until I heard the album.

If Weapon's debut full-length proves anything, it's that musical skill and hungry ambition make for a compelling album. The guitar heroics and Thrashy blasting of the opening instrumental, simply entitled Weapon, let you know that you're not listening to an average burst of brutality, and first track proper Cacophony! Black Sun Dragon's Tongue! is as eccentric and interesting as its name, growled vocals riding over melodic, eastern-touched guitar lines and a varied bit of drumming from The Disciple - it's his work that is the most conventionally foreign sound here, almost tribal beats mixing it up with blasts and diverse patterings to create a compelling backing to the riff-driven Metal. Fans of Melechesh will appreciate this especially, a lessening of melody but increase in charisma making the gang-shouts and breakdown of this track a winner. Serpentine Ayat follows, twisty and almost Punky in its blunt riffing, with an intriguingly complex undercurrent, before the seven-minute Mortem Pyre (In Darkness And Blood) rides in, crushing all underfoot as it moves from Death to Black to Doom.

Interestingly, Weapon tend to avoid outright Eastern sounds in favour of an old-school yet technical sound which mixes Death and Black together well, but there are subtle indications of the band's origin if you listen for them. The riffing and melodies are practically Melodeath-y at times, yet the band are never content to dwell on a catchy moment when they could be charging onto another, riffs coming and going before you've had a good chance to focus - it's certainly an album which benefits from multiple listens. Some of the more melodic moments, matched with the organic-sounding drums, bring Drudkh to mind, whilst the vocal 'ugh!'s and other exclamations of Vetis Monarch are Celtic Frostian to the core. I was especially impressed by the dark graveyard atmosphere of Archana, which soon turns speedy and violent with oddly impressive guitar playing, fading into the acoustic beginning to the title track, which itself is a twisted burst of technical malevolence. It's hard to sum the music up, overall; the band have taken their disparate influences and moulded them into a great album, original and complex, dark and mysterious, as violent and misanthropic as it is strangely organic and warm. To Weapon's credit, as mentioned, this is far from an appeal to the lowest common denominator, but instead an intellectual attempt at aggressive metal which should get them a great many fans. Although we'll probably see more bands critical of Islam in the coming decade Weapon seem sure to carve their niche in the underground - future albums will be even better, I predict, but this is a compelling reason to arm yourselves in the meantime.

Killing Songs :
Cacophony! Black Sun Dragon's Tongue!, Mortem Pyre (In Darkness And Blood), Drakonian Paradigm: The Flame Of All
Goat quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Weapon that we have reviewed:
Weapon - Embers And Revelations reviewed by Goat and quoted 72 / 100
Weapon - From the Devils Tomb reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 100
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