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Album Review: IMPIOUS BAPTISM Wrath of the Apex Predator

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Having been blasting and burning around for a few years, Impious Baptism have finally unleashed their first proper full length. Their offering is a seething piece of moody, black metal with spices of old school death metal throughout that will bring heads to a vigorous bang and burn crosses at every turn.

Impious Baptism is a one man wrecking crew fronted and fully performed by Jarro Raphael (or just “J”), perhaps better known for his work in Deströyer 666, Destruktor, Cerekloth, Nocturnal Graves, Hobbs' Angel of Death, and many, many other projects. He's even performed live with Toxic Holocaust, Azazel's Harem, and Zemial. The Australian metal master took to Impious Baptism in 2010 and Wrath of the Apex Predator is the first full length of the project.

Wrath of the Apex Predator is a combination of black, crusty metal and old school death metal, with the focus more on the black metal aspect. Songs spin through wave after wave of onslaughts and assaults. Tracks like “Rites of Illuminated Death,” “The Age of the Firelords,” and “Arcane Funeral Rites” all march toward death with ferocity from the get-go.

J's instrumentation throughout Wrath of the Apex Predator is solid. The guitar wails and burns like hot sickles in the skin while the drums sound warlike. The execution is not technical but it doesn't need to be. What J creates here is a honed album that captures the mood and sounds it wants without blowing itself out of proportion. It's a self-awareness that is admirable. J's gruff vocals have an eerie echo that lends to the dismal mood already in place. Fans of Diocletian, Abhorer, and Goatlord will want to take note on this.

Wrath of the Apex Predator is a solid release through and through. There isn't a single bad song on it, but there are some confusing fades and odd transitions (see: “Temple of Necromancy”). There also isn't a ton of stand out material beyond the odd fades and short ambient areas that you'll run into throughout. But really these are extremely minor details that will either give it personality for you, or just make your eyebrow crook. The flow is tight throughout and the nine dark tracks are the mark of excellent composition for the genres J fuses together. If you're craving a new, raw black metal fix then give yourself up to the Wrath of the Apex Predator.



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