The Royal Arch Blaspheme have brought forth 10 black offerings to the USBM horde in their self titled debut. Featuring the sickening and vile vocals of N.Imperial and music from Profanatica’s John Gelso, this album takes a sacrilegious shit on everything that Christianity could hope to save.
N. Imperial’s appearances throughout the underground scenes in both the US and Europe is pretty impressive and if you have never heard his fucking vocals, you’ll soon know why. They sound bloody…like he is gargling a mouth full of blood and scabs; spitting obscenities through blackened teeth. There is a healthy amount of delay on his voice throughout the recording, which adds to the performance rather than take away from it.
J. Gelso leaves a burning mark upon The Royal Arch Blaspheme that is original and yet unmistakably from the same dark pit that spews Profanatica. My biggest bitch about the whole release is the drum tracks. They sound too ‘Profanatica’…the 2/4 feel that I hear with Profanatica and Havohej. I will say that TRAB occasionally step away from this rhythmic style but when it is utilized, it is like kicking a dead horse. The album’s opening track, ‘Denial of the Holy Spirit’, plays this particular hand of cards until the money is all gone…
Like I said in my last review, Blasphemous, I like B-sides…the album opens up with two tracks that didn’t really impress me but The Royal Arch Blaspheme manage to lay off the monotone drum tracks, step the guitars up a notch and start crafting some pretty damn good songs here and there, starting with the plodding and corpse-of-christ-dragging ‘Via Crucis’. There is a certain mood that you set when you slow things down and give a song some room to breath…’Lust and Sacrilege’ and ‘Alchemical’ are good examples of this. When the song takes off and blasts after a moody break, it adds to the track and not wear it out.
The production on this release is rather good. The layers of echoing delay put the vocals up front and there is some strategically placed guitar feedback that adds to the ‘spooky’ nature of the album. The drums sound triggered, which is fine by me but doesn’t really help the whole ‘monotone-drum-thing’ I was bitching about earlier. I can’t really hold it against them, having your own style and sound is the foundation of extreme metal, right?! There are a few snippets of choirs and female voices that appear briefly…the last track, ‘Kingdom of Perversions’ is a more experimental piece that makes good use of slow and atmospheric oppression, vocals (with extra reverb!), soulless guitar feedback and some backward singing that serves as a rather uncharacteristic closure.
Although this review may sound a touch too negative, it really isn’t. The music definitely reminds me of good Profanatica but the vocals really give it an attitude all its own. There are a few more experimental tracks from The Royal Arch Blaspheme here: http://www.myspace.com/unholyblackproductions