Denial of God - Death and the Beyond
Hells Headbangers
Death Metal/Goth
8 songs (01:01:52)
Release year: 2012
Denial of God, Hells Headbangers
Reviewed by Charles
I like lots of purple on extreme metal album covers . It gives them a sort of lurid horror vibe, which in this case at least is clearly the intent (though the execution is not wholly successful). Denial of God have been around for ages without leaving too much of a dent in the black metal scene. Death and the Beyond is unfortunately not the sound of an undiscovered phenomenon that the world should be self-disembowelling as punishment for missing. This is a weird record, filled with strange tracks that leave you perplexed as to their actual point. The band has a cartoonish, horror film aesthetic that suggests an affinity for bands like The Misfits, or else goths like Death SS, but their often humdrum black metal template doesn’t especially convey this, except for on some of the more bizarre tracks that will be discussed shortly.

The intro, Veni Spiritus is one-fingered piano bashing that unconvincingly apes gothic atmosphere, and this then plods into proper opener Funeral, during which things don’t entirely improve. I don’t like this at all: it is built around a slow, leaden-footed riff: imagine one of the more down tempo sections on Darkthrone’s Ravishing Grimness but delivered with absolutely zero flair or style. It’s hard to imagine why they felt they should stretch this, ahem, “lifeless” riff out for a six minute song duration. Talking of unnecessarily and inexplicably long tracks, listen to closer The Pendulum Swings: meandering mid-tempo thudding that takes up a wholly unjustifiable fifteen minutes. Yes, Denial of God have a habit of over-egging puddings which are actually slightly mediocre in the first place.

At other times it can sound bizarre and incongruous. Beneath the Coffin’s Lid is faster, but modelled on chirpy major key tonalities that just sound twee. But oddly, the second half of this track is genuinely worth hearing. It is the closest black metal can get to power balladry: a weirdly affecting rhapsody, in which the gothic influence is more noticeable. The lyricism of the chord progression is undermined hilariously by its juxtaposition with the black metal vocals. The song ends with a final flourish of pulsing black ‘n’ roll, which sounds like the kind of thing an actual top-tier black metal act would produce. Black Dethe is the most convincing thing here: black metal blasting and a pleasingly creepy down-tempo section are joined together cleverly by a creepy melodic motif. So, it’s not like I have gained nothing from listening to this: elements are great fun, but as a whole it doesn’t especially convince.

Killing Songs :
Beneath the Coffin's Lid, Black Dethe
Charles quoted 65 / 100
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