CRIMSON MOONLIGHT - Divine Darkness
March 9, 2016, 2 years ago
“Don’t judge a book by its cover” may be an overused cliche, but in Crimson Moonlight’s case, it’s somewhat applicable. As a Christian black metal band (dubbed “unblack metal” in some circles), Crimson Moonlight illicit extreme reactions within the metal community. It’s almost guaranteed that most black metal purists will hate the band’s message. However, there’s something to be said for Crimson Moonlight’s brand of black metal. On its third full-length release (the band’s first in 12 years), the Swedes carve up some vicious brutality in the vein of Marduk and Mayhem. The liturgical themes throughout the album are atypical for black metal, as they’re surely not Satanic. But honestly, you can’t understand vocalist Pilgrim Bestiarius XII in the first place (in a good way), so it doesn’t really matter! All joking aside, the band’s use of battering blastbeats, vigorous, stabbing guitar riffs and vicious shrieks are well executed throughout the album’s eight tracks.
Opener “The Dogma Of Chalcedon” explodes right out of the gate with Pilgrim’s horrid screech decorated with relentless blastbeats, capturing the best representation of the band’s musical direction. Howling wind, tolling bells and a crow’s caw are usually the ingredients for impending evil, and “Kingdom Of The Wolf” carries this ominous brutality throughout the track. “Dusk” is equally as menacing, containing a haunting choir sonata with mid-paced blackened thrash riffs, á la Toxic Holocaust or Destroyer 666. The band also experiment with quiet, melodic elements, most notably the haunting piano arrangement at the end of “The Suffering” and the acoustic guitar segment on the title track. The chainsaw guitar riffs and haunting tonalities of Per Sundberg and Johan Wold Ylenstrand are hypnotic, while Gustav Elowson’s inhuman-like drumming propel the tracks to an even higher level. Crimson Moonlight has been bashing away at it for almost 20 years, and Divine Darkness is a highly commendable contribution to black metal.