Acrimonious - Sunyata
Agonia Records
Black Metal
8 songs (55:13)
Release year: 2012
Agonia Records
Reviewed by Charles
This album piques the interest primarily because of its cover, which hints more at chilled out stoner doom fun than sourpuss black metal. The name, too. Seems a bit “Eastern Philosophy”, and all that. That’s all smoke and mirrors, by the way, because sourpuss black metal this undoubtedly is. A scan over the extended track lengths, and the first impressions given off by the very quiet introductory track, suggests that this might be meditative in tone. But in fact this is quite an extravagant, showy record, filled with fist-pumping riffing and tongue-waggling lead solos. Features ex-members of Acherontas, by the way.

Not sure I get a fully-rounded concept from this. First proper trackLykania Hekate builds up into a stomping, anthemic climax, giving the impression that Acrimonious could have a career as stadium black metal. So does Glory Crowned Son of the Thousand Petalled Lotus, whose wanton lead soloing and bellowing Satanic invocations is not as yogic as the title suggests, unless Watain is the kind of thing people listen to when doing sun salutes at their weekend classes. In between these is Adharma, which starts with a weird, whirring riff before ending up as a sort of blackened drone. Not of the Echtra kind, at all; rather that a rising and falling riff, replete with roaring percussion, that cycles round enough times to attain a hypnotic quality.

So, it’s an album with its own agenda, though sometimes it’s hard to work out exactly what that is. There is some really good stuff here, though. The Sloughted Scales of Separation really spins the band’s penchant for extended repetition into something worth hearing. A winding riff circles insistently, its windswept tremolo conveying a real sense of drama. This approach contrasts with the song’s coda, with its tuneful lead harmonies rather like a blackened equivalent to Insomnium. Then we have the two closing tracks, one of which (you might like to know) is called Vitalising the Red-Purple in Asher-Zemurium which dispel any pensive quality generated so far in a vicious outpouring of fast and brutal black metal. Hence, the overall tone of Sunyata is quite hard to get a handle on, but it certainly produces some great moments.

Killing Songs :
The Sloughted Scales of Separation, Adharma
Charles quoted 75 / 100
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