Check out the video in the sidebar of Artep performing at the Vancouver opening of ‘Until the Light Takes Us’…

Canadian Symphonic Black Metal Horde Artep, which includes members of Funeral Fornication, Gremory and Vanquished, have just released their debut full length album, ‘Thy Will Be Done On Earth As Is Done In Hell’ with Bleak Art Records.  While I normally find that the majority of symphonic BM groups fall short of achieving the epic atmosphere they imply, I am happy to say that Artep do not rely solely on majestic keyboard sounds to create their foreboding atmosphere. ‘Thy Will Be Done…’ contains a wide spectrum of sounds and attitudes to satisfy the BM elitists from several ‘sub-genres’.

The opening track, ‘Birth of the Antichrist’, is a keyboard intensive, minute and a half piece gives a somewhat misleading peek at what the remainder of the album contains. Tracks such as ‘Antichrist’ and ‘Desolateland’ do a good job of ripping and blasting apart your cranium, with just the right amount of ‘symphonic feel’…unobtrusive and not demanding of your attention. Later on, the eight minute opus ‘Black War’, finds the listeners greeted with the sound of a marching battalion and heavy string sections.  The track does a good job of alternating between guitar and keyboard driven parts, progressing well through the songs duration.

I found the production aspect of ‘Thy Will Be Done…’ somewhat raw and rough around the edges, which in my mind, adds to the intensity of the release.  At times the drums sound clear and defined although in the more intense blast beat sections, the drums take on an almost grindcore quality.  The vocals are often distorted and layered while the guitars remain the most consistent sounding instrument. What I didn’t hear was overproduced nonsense that lacks integrity or direction.

I guess what I enjoy most about Artep’s ‘Thy Will Be Done…’ is the fact that there is enough going on musically to keep me listening. The shifting textures on this release almost defy categorization and keeps the interest level high with out losing focus or credibility.