Review: Confession “Coloured by the Red Flames of Fire”

Review: Confession “Coloured by the Red Flames of Fire”

- in Reviews

Confession is an extreme metal duo from Poland, formed a couple of years ago. Last July their debut album Coloured by the Red Flames of Fire was released by their own efforts, offering half an hour of pure and traditional black metal. And six months later Greek independent label Poetic Blasphemies has released it on the tape (limited to 50 copies).

Even though Confession was founded in 2020, the musicians at some point collaborated with each other more than decade ago. And now resurrected and renovated, Confession has started their journey – eighteen months of composing and rehearsing the material that was transformed into a debut album Coloured by the Red Flames of Fire. There are only two of them – Yorgal (responsible for drums, bass, lead guitar and keyboards) and Szczepan (responsible for rhythm & bass guitar as well as vocals), and due to this, the album emanates this elusive aura of intimacy that is almost impossible to create if you work in a large team.

Black metal is a genre that can offer different paths of many possibilities if you are too curious to follow all the traditional rules of this pure and historical style. Confession isn’t one of those bands that are looking for inspiration through modern or experimental directions, focusing on ancient traditions of true black metal. But still there are essential or minor differences, proving that you can stay safely in quite a limited and rigorous genre, but also implementing your own hallmarks. Their black metal is primitive and monolithic, based on Scandinavian cultural traditions, but also dipping their hands into the first wave of black metal straight from the 1980s. Everything reeks here of minimalistic approach and calm attitude, so we can forget about piercing aggression and mind-blowing speed. Coloured by the Red Flames of Fire rather belongs to tamed and glossy black metal realm than unpredictable and indomitable beast rushing off leash. But it doesn’t mean that the music of Confession lacks ordinary violence, no, their violence is just caged and consciously elaborated, never contaminating the heart of the music with an extra dose of ferocious darkness.

The songs are quite long for this genre, and without drastic rhythmical changes this longevity emphasizes the monotonous and repetitive approach, and by reason of this it also provides some kind of calculating coldness. Not wintry and freezing coldness, but rather smooth and sharp sangfroid. It’s a pretty fascinating phenomenon; usually this prudent chill is obtained by a serious amount of ambient soundscapes. But this Polish duo uses the synthetic parts only in the background, occasionally amplifying the melancholic or perturbed aura. Only the last 10-minute composition “Confession” has an ambient outro that reminds of new age and even psychedelic music. Hence the lack of spontaneity is truly compensated by masterful curbing of the primal instincts presented in a delicious form of disciplined creativity.

The album moves in a mid-tempo, sometimes wandering into slow and almost static condition so close to heavy/doom metal direction (“Confession”) or transcending dynamics through crazy blast beats and crude guitar riffs (“Devilish Passage” or “Pandemonium”). The deceleration of structural patterns on the self-titled track “Coloured by the Red Flames of Fire” is so neatly performed that recalls some ancient occult rites. There’s not so much place for melodic lines, however atmospheric ambiance is unobtrusively integrated against the background, drawing the analogies with nature-inspired ambient black metal. There’s also something extravagantly modern on the last song “Confession”, but without crossing a line to be considered as shoegaze or post-rock. And always anxiety and depressive elements are smoothed away by a wave of light and luminous levity, making every song a little bit closer to an optimistic ending. But still, this is black metal, and no matter how strong are those positive vibes, they are still devoured by this genre’s ruthless laws.

Confession chose for the artwork a fragment of famous painting of Dutch painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder “The Triumph of Death” in the Danse Macabre style. This painting shows an aggressive inevitability of almighty death that is kinda idolized (along with the war themes that are quite relevant nowadays) through the lyrics of this album. Despite harsh sound and the absence of impulsiveness, Coloured by the Red Flames of Fire has a solid core and almost invisible devotion to the implicit purity of black metal.

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