Review: “Age Of Curse” by Lord Of Pagathorn

The Age of Curse is upon us; the Great Plague sweeps the barren land as ash rains forth from the skies and the frostbitten masses gather around the funeral pyre for warmth and solace. The album marks the third full-length opus from Finnish Black Metal quartet Lord Of Pagathorn in seven years since their 2014 debut “Nekros Philia” with sophomore “Daimono Philia” appearing in 2018 although only vocalist, guitarist Corpse Lord (Maple Cross, ex-Sear, ex-Sethery, ex-Black Emotions) remains from an original line up and guitarist Skrubb (ex-Taake) who joined in 2015 remains from the last record. The group is now rounded out by Skalder (Unhoped, ex-Sancteferia) on drums and bassist Ronitor (Lie in Ruins, Perdition Winds, ex-Clockwork Spirit, ex-Neutron Hammer, ex-Amarantine) the later of whom is credited with main recordings and album artwork. The drums recorded by K. Laanto in Maniac Mansion (Warkaus) while mixing and mastering was carried out by Trollhorn (Finntroll, Mimorium, Vargrav) at Trollhouse Audio in the winter of discontent of 2020.

Seasoned veterans of Black Metal Lord Of Pagathorn have been treading the path that mortals fear to tread since they crawled out from the void in 1992 at the Arctic Circle so they are no strangers to us, their work being of the melodic, raw and traditional old school Black Metal that rose to fruition in the 1980s. The haunting whispers of “Burning Ominous Words” accompanied by the scratching of the Ouija board as something dark is summoned from the black depths. As you might expect, lyrical themes of Satanism, Revenge, the Left Hand Path and Anti-Christianism flow through the bands material like blood from the veins of the freshly sacrificed and “Age Of Curse” is no different in that respect; the chalice from which they drink their fill maybe different, but the wine that fills it remains the same.┬áThe result is a release that in some respects is timeless, paying homage to genre legends of old, while building upon the foundations that they have laid themselves; tremolo picking and blast beats are here as stock in trade but the band take the path less travelled, instead introducing majestic climbing leads on the likes of “Over Throned” that light a path to something previously neglected in thought. Corpse Lord’s vocals are as ever caustic, haggard and aged, his thoughts spilling out in time honoured tradition as his spits and snarls like a rabid dog. He cuts a figure in black, forever scorned as each of his world weary tales paint a depiction of humanity crumbling amid mournful melodic moments like in “Dragging In The Dust” where his lament is a curse and the piano part that closes it is sublime. There are also shades of Crust Punk underlying cuts like the album title track, which is delivered with the kind of pure bitter, twisted energy that cleaves flesh from bone, the intricacies of some of the guitar work replaced by loose and fast abrasions that scrub away the evidence like wire wool. Then you have Skalder’s performance on “Prophecy of Androgyne Being“, what of a man possessed who sits behind the kit and delivers the most dedicated piece of studious Black Metal drumming that you will ever hear; it sounds like something the fore-fathers of the genre would have conjured [7/10]

1. Intro: Burning Ominous Words
2. Baneful Curse To Destroy Them All!
3. Conqueror of Im-Kharasak
4. Insatiability of Man
5. Over Throned
6. Age of Curse
7. Crush The Holy Spirit
8. Prophecy of Androgyne Being
9. Dragging In The Dust

Age Of Curse” by Lord Of Pagathorn is out on 21st May 2021 via Woodcut Records and is available over at bandcamp

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