If you believe the hype, Sammath’s Godless Arrogance is the scariest and most evil black metal album to hit the scene since Phantom’s debut Divine Necromancy. In case you somehow missed it, Divine Necromancy is the album that basically set the new standard for horror metal back in 2013. I was extremely impressed with Divine Necromancy when I first heard it and still consider it one of the best horror metal albums ever made. Godless Arrogance takes a lot of lessons from Divine Necromancy, and indeed it even sounds a lot like Divine Necromancy – which is perhaps reason enough to listen to it – but unfortunately, my high hopes were dashed by what turned out to be a simplistic, repetitive, basic bitch war metal experience.
Instead of being the new heralded champion of blackened horror metal, Godless Arrogance feels more like a merely “average” Phantaclone album, not so different from Fallen From the Brightest Throne or Stella Polaris.
Immersion is the key in any blackened horror metal album, and one thing Sammath does get right on Godless Arrogance as the music weaves a very plausible, organic feeling into its atmosphere and presentation.
Unfortunately for the band, the music on Godless Arrogance soon devolves into boring war metal tropes, which include Marduk-esque blasting frenzies, improper use of chromaticism, repetitive tremolo riffs that go nowhere, and very basic song structures that get increasingly irritating as the albums drags on in a Gorgoroth worthy monotonous cacophony. Very, very boring. And by the end of the eighth track, you’re simply left wondering why you didn’t just listen to Divine Necromancy in the first place.
The problem with all these Phantaclone bands is that they get the surface aesthetics, the exterior style that makes early Phantom’s music so hypnotic and compelling, but they understand nothing of its underlying structure.
What you are left with is, essentially, a Lamborghini with a Toyota motor. It’s cool, as long as the goal is to impress your friends on Facebook and Instagram, but don’t bother trying to drive it on the highway. Replace with Angel of Disease for a much more convincing take on primitive blackened horror metal.
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