Monday, February 25, 2013

Review of "Baphometic Chaosium" by Lightning Swords of Death

Buy this album

1. Baphometic Chaosium
2. Acid Gate
3. Psychic Waters
4. Cloven Shields
5. Chained to Decay
6. R'Lyeh Wuurm
7. Epicyclarium
8. Oaken Chrysalis

It began nine years ago when a pact was made within a dilapidated house hidden in Southern California. It was here that Autarch, Roskva, and Menno found themselves in agreement that should the occult sciences be applied to their music, it would yield spectacular results. LIGHTNING SWORDS OF DEATH, as it was later named, would be in itself a meticulously designed hyper-sigil, constructed to direct and antagonize the limitless dark energy that lurks within the less navigable chasms of the human mind, and in the space between spaces.

In 2007, the band unleashed The Golden Plague upon the earth, on the label. This declaration of unholy war inspired a tour of the West coast and the North Western blocks of the United States. Audiences witnessed performances by men possessed. LIGHTNING SWORDS OF DEATH live continuously proved to be a conqueror's fury leaving an ashen stain on every stage they destroyed. The tour began sharing battleground with bands like Nachtmystium and High On Fire, and concluded with LIGHTNING SWORDS OF DEATH opening for Danzig during the mighty "Blackest Of The Black" tour. This lead to a growing cult, while press reactions to The Golden Plague (recorded in Roskva's apartment) continued to glow like the embers of a raging pyre;

"I truly wanted to know how USBM crew LIGHTNING SWORDS OF DEATH get their sound. It's seriously crushing and vicious and yet it sounds like it's 10 miles away. Or 10 miles underground. Uncanny. You know, it's an art sounding this fucked up. …'Let This Knife Lead You To Us' has a riff worth killing for." -- Decibel magazine

"a torrent of anguish" -- SOD magazine

"LSOD leave no face un-ripped with a blackened death approach that puts as much importance on memorable hooks and downtrodden groove as it does on blast beat blaspheme." -- Pit Magazine

The second release took the form of a split CD with comrades Valdur, which was only available for a limited time at performances during the country wide 2008 "Blodhevn" tour. Metal Maniacs called LSOD's content a "heavy, bestial and brutal assault bringing to mind a young and hungry Thornspawn."

The ubber rare split continues to infect all who experience its unyielding expression of true chaos, if they can track it down, and it was only a precursor of the grand and terrible horror that was already looming in the future, like a headsman's shadow.

In 2009, while continuing to push their brand of brazen black metal through their DYI attitude, the band supplied multiple tracks for the Sony PSP game UNDEAD KNIGHTS, as well as a track featured on the soundtrack for the horror/thriller movie Stepfather (October 2009). Shortly after the initiation of drummer Mike Vega, LSOD signed a worldwide deal with Metal Blade Records. In 2010, The Extra Dimensional Wound was recorded in Corona, CA at Trench Studios with Roska producing and John Haddad engineering. It was then mixed and mastered by Sverker "Necro" Widgren at Necromorbus Studios in Stockholm Sweden (Watain, Funeral Mist, Ondskapt).

The band's budding reputation as a relentless and "must see" black metal act also earned the band a coveted spot on the 2010 "Evangelia Amerika Tour," headlined by Behemoth and joined by Septic Flesh from Greece. The Extra Dimensional Wound was also followed by a 2010 US tour with German thrash legends Kreator! Not long after, the band was hand-picked to provide direct support for Immortal during their only Los Angeles appearance, and later invited to perform at the 2010 Scion Music Festival. Meanwhile, reviews continued to generate, in response to The Extra Dimensional Wound:

 "Forget about over hyped geographically-based black metal superiority. LIGHTNING SWORDS OF DEATH is a jaw-breaking example of USBM strength. "The Extra Dimensional Wound" is pure Armageddon." —

"LIGHTNING SWORDS OF DEATH set out to make their demons visible and to inject their dark knowledge into their music. There are many pretenders to that aim in black metal, but, as The Extra Dimensional Wound proves, few are as serious as a heart attack like these guys." — Music Emissions

"Autarch's words seem to come from another place, ethereal and disturbing. 'Nihilistic Stench's' double bass and blackened thrash, rips and shreds the flesh, until finally, 'Path to Chaos' gives the true sense of how much potential LSOD has with creating atmosphere, great song-writing, but most importantly, terror." — The Gauntlet

2012, nearly 7 years after the release of "The Golden Plague", LIGHTNING SWORDS OF DEATH prepares to bring forth their third full length offering, the band's second release on Metal Blade. The band had appropriately become a five piece (completing the pentacle) with the recruitment of lead guitarist "Inverted" Chris Velez, before they began developing what is described as "devotional work", dedicated to their patron god - A mind altering experience compelled by the embodiment of chaos, death and ecstasy entitled Baphometic Chaosium. To record the psychedelic devilry, they returned to Trench Studios with John Haddad again seeing to the engineering with Roskva producing, no doubt to the delight of the tributed horned deity.

This album starts of with the track “Baphometic Chaosium” introducing you to the band through a great grim intro with snare march and guitars, with very technical bass riff, making it really interesting and incredible. The vocals sound really early black metal years like and brutal drums and chilling riffs keep this track intense the whole way through. A longer, six minute track, comes in the next track “Acid Gate” showing these guys definitely keep an old school sound to their black metal feel while including a new brutal touch to create a very tasty mix. It is a very catchy track and is a great heavy listen with an epic drum break. “Psychic Waters” brings very eerie guitars the whole way through, along with the drums adding to the insane sound. The gruelling vocals make this track an awesome one.

A nice ambient track follows entitled “Cloven Shields” to tingle your bones in between the insanity. The guitars sound especially menacing to begin “Chained to Decay” and the slower riff and whispers that follow are great. It is a slow track comparatively but definitely just as cold in its delivery. “R'Lyeh Wuurm” is a very stellar track with blast beats and riffs that don’t let up. It is quite the track to mosh to… with swords and spears! Another epic, seven minute long masterpiece, follows with the track “Epicyclarium” bringing a great mix of brutality and slower grooves that leaves you in a dark cold wintery forest alone. The riff after the brief break was epic how each guitar stood out and creates one amazing piece. What a way to end an album but with catchy grooves and riffs to pillage to on the closing track “Oaken Chrysalis.”

Combining my favourite two subgenres of metal, black and death, Lightning Swords of Death, leave me wanting more as they tear apart my ears in the most enjoyable way possible. With Autarch’s vocals which feel really old school, Roskva and Inverted Chris taking care of the grim guitars, Menno ripping the bass in an incredible way, and M. Vega tearing apart the drums, this band is solid and have perfected their craft. Pick this up if you enjoy blackened death metal!

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