Review: “Ascendant Blasphemy” by Plague Weaver

Originally starting out as the solo project of multi instrumentalist RM in 2018, it was a year before Plague Weaver unveiled their self titled release and two before “Through The Sulphur Eyes” saw his Mississauga, Ontario Canadian Black Metal creations brought to life by vocals from Rad Zarei as a session musician and unleash hell upon the World. 13 months on, this new chapter and full debut album sees RM joined by a new vocalist in JC, the pair having spent the summer of 2020 writing together. Continuing in the same vein and offering music with peroxide soaked Black Metal roots and wieghty Doom atmosphere, this second offering is at least part a concept release with an overarching theme of infernal forces usurping heaven, all writen from a non-theistic, philosophical illustrative perspective.

Opening gambit “Nothing Is Sacred” is as much an introduction to new vocalist JC as it is the opening cut of the bands debut album. The song has a striking balance between raging Black Metal and Asian influenced Doom guitar work with a rich etheral quality as extended leads play out underneath JC’s ear splitting demonic cries. If anyone thought that the new vocalist had brought a partial style shift with him to suit his vocals then they’d be much mistaken as “Lay Fire” is another throat ripping, blood gargling vocal performance. The difference here is that some of the pacing has been slowed to allow for flesh crawling darkness to envelope the listener and crush them to dust with sinister churning riffage. “Blood Runs Not” sees oddly time signatured rhythms as JC roars in seething agony like a beast being slowly dragged to death by quicksand, the lush harmonic leads that finish having that mournful quality that the injection of Doom beings. “Seek To Betray” reminds of bands like Skeletonwitch as thunderously dark storm builds to an inevitable crescendo, while the vocals running over the slow is something that grows on you with each repeated listen.

The middle of the record sees the well layered “Upheaval and Arson” take hold, having numerous little tempo shifts helping to ease the relentlessness of the vocals. There are passages of the album that cry out for an elongated instrumental section but the plentiful lyrics simply don’t allow for them, the understated leads offering a dark elegance but always overlayed by brain scarring deathly growls. There is more of a sinister edge to “Of Quivering Doves” which is reminiscent of bands like Rotting Christ as it slows right down and wraps itself around you like a Boa Constrictor before crushing your bones with its collosal gravity. One of two pre-release singles, “Deicidal Usurper” is a evil white knuckle roller coaster ride with menacing brooding riffs and an almost ambient bridge section that hangs in the air creating a tension you can cut with a knife before a piano part that oozes sinister haunting vibes that chill to the bone. The spitting, snarling deathly growls akin to Snorlax appear on “In Exitium Caeli” as more tasteful almost Egyptian inspired leads underpin them for a slow, grinding finale befitting of the album as a whole. Black Metal purists will no doubt be burning effigies of Plague Weaver as there is no straightforward blast here, instead something dark and lingering that questions mortality rests in its place [7/10]

Track listing

  1. Nothing Is Sacred
  2. Lay Fire
  3. Blood Runs Not
  4. Seek To Betray
  5. Upheaval and Arson
  6. Of Quivering Doves
  7. Deicidal Usurper
  8. In Exitium Caeli

Ascendant Blasphemy” by Plague Weaver is out 26th February 2021 and available for pre-order over at bandcamp.

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