Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Kriegsmaschine - Altered State of Divinity

KRIEGSMASCHINE - Altered State of Divinity (TODESKULT - LP 2005)
I still remember when I came across Kriegsmaschine's "Altered State of Divinity", shortly after the album was released. It was recommended to me by a friend and since our musical tastes for black metal were pretty similar, I decided to buy the album. Well, I can honestly say that I don't regret that at all, as this is one of the finest Polish black metal albums I've ever heard. It's a true masterpiece of sinister and undivine art. You may probably know that Kriegsmaschine pretty much shares the line up with Mgla, another great BM band, but musically both bands try to walk different blackened paths. And thus I'm not able to pick up, which of those two bands I liked more, I can tell you though that both are fuckin' amazing. And "Altered State of Divinity" is just an excellent debut full length album.
Kriegsmaschine previous recording, "A Thousand Voices", was OK, but it's not even half as great as "Altered State of Divinity". I think there were many things to be improved and luckily with this album Kriegsmaschine did everything better. They improved much their songwriting, used better ideas and more intriguing song structures, new vocalist turned out to be just incredibly good and also the production on "Altered State of Divinity" also has been bettered. Wow, they did try hard this time! I’m impressed.
The album is opened by the furious and uncompromising riffing and blast of "Ma'aseh Bereshit", which even reminds me the likes of Marduk, but that's basically the only such mercilessly fast part here, as the rest of the side A of the vinyl is played in surprisingly slower tempos. Kriegsmaschine concentrates there more on creating a specific atmosphere, than on blowing our heads off, but that's great in my opinion, because right after "Ma'aseh Bereshit" slows down, the music just becomes more interesting. The riffing is more diverse, with plenty of breaks, there are even some sort of sorrowful parts here and there, but the effect is just awesome. Each of the three songs from side A catches the attention with something cool... "Ma'aseh Bereshit" has this great slow and as I said melancholic finish (with well audible bass parts). "Altered State of Divinity" turns out to be the best song from the whole LP, with some amazing parts, great riffing and some brilliant vocal parts from M., including a chorus part sang with a clean voice (and the lyrics in that part is Latin written, what only underlines the whole mood). M. is a new vocalist of course, as Leatherface is no more in the band, but I can only agree to this decision, as M.'s vocals are 666% more interesting, with plenty of various styles within the classic black metal shriek and with really good arrangements (sometimes his voice reminds me Mortuus from Marduk / Funeral Mist by the way). Yeah, this guy did an excellent job. Some riffs are slightly melodic, but the overall feeling of the music from side A is just dark and sinister. Meanwhile "Through the Eyes of the Blind" delivers more classic black metal riffing, in the vein of early Gorgoroth or Darkthrone, but of course with a personal touch of Kriegsmaschine.
Side B also starts with pretty fast tempos of "Beyond the Veil", with surprisingly Kampfar-esque riff in the beginning and again some agonising and unusual singing of M. ("The laughter of angels is in the continuous litany of the agonized newborn, perished in humiliation, torture and abuse..." - what a great line!). "Prism" is very close to the recent Marduk albums like "Plaguewielder", in the beginning it is just very fast riffing with furious screams of M., but later the songs turns into more diverse styles. The biggest challenge of side B comes with "Nihilation", which is 9 minutes long song and starts pretty typically, but then Kriegsmaschine putted some noisy samples, etc, what gave a slightly chaotic and disturbing effect. This idea reminds me of Gehenna's "Ad Arma Ad Arma" from "Malice", in many ways. Finally the whole LP is finished by Marduk-like blasts of "Kerigma", maybe the least interesting song from the whole album, but still solid. After listening to side B, I must underline though that I liked side A more, maybe because it was played in mid paced tempos more and it didn't have so many similarities to Marduk.
I have no doubts that if Kriegsmaschine was Swedish or Norwegian, then "Altered State of Divinity" would have been praised and called cult by all those black metal maniacs around the world, who only focus on those two scenes. Unfortunately, I have an impression that the label that released the album, Todeskult Records, didn't promote it well enough and definitely this LP didn't reach the status is was destined to and which it deserved to get. Hmm, who would care about some Polish black metallers haha? But that’s a mistake! And yeah, stupidity also, but that's fact that the underground often supports terribly mediocre Scandinavian bands, underestimating those real jewels from other countries. Fuck that anyway. Those, who maniacs were smart enough I bet know Kriegsmaschine well by now and "Altered State of Divinity" is in their collection.
This is an album worth a sin.
Standout tracks: "Altered State of Divinity", "Through the Eyes of the Blind", "Beyond the Veil"
Final rate: 90 / 100

No comments:

Post a Comment