Virginia’s Leper Lord have all the right elements in place for a black metal massacre. Crude xerox covers, indecipherable logos, live recordings and bottomless studio mixes spell out the name of black metal for shallow scene charlatans everywhere. Luckily for listeners, 6 unholy ceremonies are contained on Altar of Embers, a furious release that holds non-believers by the throat, screaming with conviction, cruelty and confidence.

Wasting little time with bullshit ambient introductions, this 21 minute EP begins with ‘Blessed Are the Dead’, shifting quickly between blasting thrash and staggering half-time dirges with little effort. ‘The Great Fall’, while under the two minute mark, is nonetheless devastating. Perhaps, this song would have best been served with lyrics, as the riffs that comprise have enough depth to expand upon threefold.

‘Prophet of the Horned One’ does little to invoke a greater force of darkness, although on this track, Leper Lord do well at showing their ability to ‘groove’ or ‘lay back in the cut’…terms which are, now that I think of it, never used when describing black metal. Fuck it, ‘Abortion of the Holy’ is definitely grim and cold…with an opening riff akin to ripping up angels amidst a howling tornado of Armageddon…

The Bathory overtones shine bright on ‘Behemoth Divine’, damaging eardrums and cursing god all in once. Rituals like these are telling of the band’s live performance: over the top with plenty of bad attitude, headbanging and new converts to the Leper Lord cult.

The title track, ‘Altar of Embers’, closes out the ritual with mystical but simple (the best kind) melodies scattered about. ‘Altar of Embers’ brings out the best performance from Leper Lord, although the track shifts dynamics and direction a little too often to really grab my attention for more than 16 bars, I was impressed, nonetheless.

If I take the time to write a review for a band, I recommend them. So check them out, go see them live and buy their new self-released EP. You will be glad you did.

Leper Lord @ Facebook