"Infernum - Prelude to a New Reign" (Crash Music; 2003)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I have avoided reviewing Unearthly's "Infernum - Prelude To A New Reign" for almost two months. There are various reasons for this, one namely being the fact that I'm tired of overwrought drama in a band's presentation and approach, especially in the black metal genre. One look at the cover art for "Infernum - Prelude To A New Reign" left me completely ambivalent.

Unearthly, hailing from Brazil, play Emperor-styled black metal (think in terms of approach, not sound). "Infernum - Prelude To A New Reign" is loaded with Satanic lyrical and pictorial imagery and leaves nothing to the imagination about what these guys think of Christianity. The first ten seconds of the CD will erase any doubts if any remained after seeing the cover art.

However, it's the music that literally and figuratively does the talking - and on this count Unearthly succeed. "Infernum - Prelude To A New Reign" is a surprisingly tight and complete effort.

I've always enjoyed my black metal with a healthy dose of keyboard work - I know that puts me at odds with followers of black metal's origins, but what can I say - I like what I like. On "Infernum - Prelude To A New Reign" Unearthly have achieved an extreme metal balance that is strikingly good to listen to. Blinding repetition and poor mixing, often the downfalls of many black metal bands, are avoided here. Musically the band mix things up and arrange their material so that each section has a sharp impact without wearing itself out. The superior quality mix, another sore spot for black metal, is another high point for this CD.

The vocals can be a bit one-dimensional and tiresome, but I've learned over the years not to judge a black metal CD on the basis of vocals alone.

Unearthly have already garnered a healthy amount of praise in the Brazilian metal press, it would not surprise me if the rest of the world begins to take notice in the years to come.

"Infernum - Prelude To A New Reign" was produced by Unearthly.

Unearthly is Lord Thoth on vocals and guitars, M. Mictian on bass, Hysrucs Midgard on keyboards, and Leghor Supay on drums.

For more information visit http://www.unearthlyhorde.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2003 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 04 Sep 2023 15:33:16 -0400 .