This sort-of-concept-album is a journey through the circles of hell, with short piano interludes representing each of the circles, surrounded by full-length songs ranting about the weaknesses and evils of mankind, which may or may not be connected to things found in the infernal circles. The references to the circles of hell, the gloomy piano tracks and the album cover give the album a special feel of gothic and horror literature put to music.
This old horror put to music works best in “Between the graves”, the track between the Gluttony and Greed circles. It starts with a quiet, slightly sinister riff before exploding, while keeping that same haunting dark atmosphere, then it finishes on that same eerie and quiet riff. The piano interludes work pretty well. They have a nice sinister, gothic atmosphere, and they keep the album from becoming too monotonous. They also easily flow into the next songs, such as “The fourth circle- Greed” into “On your knees in front of the priest”.
But another great thing about this album is its rage. Contrasting with the calm-before-the-storm interludes, most of the songs are absolutely angry. First full-length song “I hate myself” doesn’t waste any time telling you what the album is all about. And the rest of it won’t let you down, with the crushing “Millenium of all-consuming hellfire”, “New Age Templar” and its simple, furious chorus, and the angriest tracks on the record, “Anti-Human Art” and “On Your Knees in Front of the Priest”.
I don’t want to hype this up too much, because I don’t think the album is quite perfect. The first time I listened, I couldn’t tell the piano interludes apart. It also took me some time to tell the other songs apart. “Between the graves” is probably the best on the album, because it at least had a memorable riff instead of sounding like an indistinct mass of riffs like the rest of the album could often be. And as for the references to the circles of hell, well, it feels a little gratuitous here, because the songs are not really about a Journey Through Hell. I get that it’s meant to create a gothic atmosphere, but I just don’t think it really fits the songs that much.
Though I’ve noticed some flaws with that album, I don’t think it’s that bad either. Like I said, there is a lot of ambition and great ideas there. Some songs are definitely enjoyable. I’m sure that this is the kind of album that could grow on me after more listens. And it will grow on you too, because despite a few imperfections, it’s a rather enjoyable, well-made slice of black/death metal.