HADES ALMIGHTY - The Pulse of Decay (WITCHING HOUR - LP 2013)
There’s one thing, which must be said first and foremost – this album doesn’t sound like any other Hades record. The band have made a huge progress since the old days and really became something what can be only called as progressive black metal and original form. And yes, I do realize that a lot of maniacs are suspicious about such descriptions, as too often it happened that progressive equals something completely unlistenable and came as a result of forced changes, forced and fake originality that was also a result of new Norwegian trends from the late 90’s.
But it’s not a case with “Pulse of Decay”. And I tell you something – I did not like this album so much, when I heard it for the first time back when it was released. I felt disappointed, when I heard this different style, sound and approach and I could not convince myself to it. But years pass on, everything changes and so did my opinion regarding “Pulse of Decay”, as nowadays I think it’s just excellent album!
Yes, it’s so much more progressive than the previous records. There’s very little, if anything, left from the style of Hades, which we know from “Again Shall Be” and “Dawn of the Dying Sun” and which was slow based, very epic, monumental and majestic, raw, cold black metal. But it’s great that this newer Hades is able to defend itself for the high quality of the music is undisputable. If there’s anything connected to the old albums, then I guess it would only be the epic and monumental feeling of the music, which is always present. Of course one could miss the dark and obscure, evil atmosphere from the old albums, but it’s just pointless to moan that the band has progressed and changed over the course of ten years, as it would be even more dangerous if they stagnated and played the same stuff all the time. Besides, the band delivered something more original and their performance on “The Pulse of Decay” is seriously excellent.
Let me start with the first song here, “Submission Equals Suicide”. I simply love it. I love the brilliant main riff here and what strikes the most is the vocal performance of Jonto, who sounds so different! I mean, his vocals became cleaner, but still have some harsh screaming… in the cleaner parts he sounds like Quorthon and generally his vocals are very original sounding. Very good work! What’s also awesome about this song is how epic, but also aggressive it sounds. It gets faster near the end and the result is truly amazing. With next song (which is the title track) it becomes obvious that Hades will not commit suicide from the previous album “Millenium Nocturne” and won’t be so monotonous anymore, as “The Pulse of Decay” is so damn varied, with many different styles of riffing, vocals and also great drumming of Remi. It’s among the most experimental and progressive songs here, with the main style of playing, which can be compared to some oriental melodies and drumming – but how fantastic it sounds, and still so damn dark and vicious! Finally there’s “The Antichrist Inside”, which at the same time belongs to the most aggressive and fastest songs on the album, with truly vicious atmosphere, but also more epic and slower middle part. Truly, I must admit that all these three tracks are superb!!!!!
On side A there’s only the bonus track “Generation Murder – Rape”, which I like less and which is below the highest quality the other songs deliver. This song may be damn fast and aggressive, but it’s just not as good as the other songs, not to mention quite raw production of it (it was recorded during different recording session). During the same session “Cyber Alchemist” from side B was also recorded, which is the second bonus track on this LP… but this one is awesome, it’s memorable, also quite fast, but really damn good. From side B I guess there’s only one song, which I don’t like so much and it’s “Apocalypse”… On the other hand such “Vendetta Assassination” have some riffs, which could easily fit to “Dawn of the Dying Sun”, so harsh and cold it sounds and have some of these characteristic arrangements Hades is known for. And let’s mention also the epic “Razor” – fantastic song!
Yeah… I hardly ever mention almost entire album’s tracklists in my review, I did so here, for two reasons. One was to underline how diverse and interesting this album is. Secondly, to show how awesome “The Pulse of Decay” is. It’s a highly underrated album, but I hope that it will get what it deserves one day!
Standout tracks: “Submission Equals Suicide”, “Cyber Alchemist”, “The Antichrist Inside”, “The Pulse of Decay”
Final rate: 85/100