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Black Metal History

Album Review: LIGHTNING SWORDS OF DEATH – Baphometic Chaosium

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Overtly sinister sonic imagery requires some suspension of disbelief on my part. Either I’ll buy into a band’s bombast and bluster, or their attempts to evoke evil will fall hilariously flat, obscuring the music below. On their third full-length, Lightning Swords of Death deftly thread the needle of depravity, creating an immersive and convincingly blasphemous atmosphere. Baphometic Chaosium rides the raging black on the edge of death, pleading its case with massive riffs and songwriting prowess; I’ll buy in.

Lightning Swords of Death have stepped away from the black metal-via-Sunlight death aesthetic that marked The Extradimensional Wound, instead favoring a more articulate and incisive sound. The album employs various classical black metal devices, swarming and thrashing in tremolo-picked ecstasy. LSOD understand that such tactics are devoid of meaning without riffs to give them life; hooks are found in abundance.

Baphometic Chaosium never over-relies on any one of the infernal methods, finding strength in diversity and molding elemental traditions into shapely artifacts with formidable compositional skill. Many moments evoke the glory of Dissection, but LSOD are just as likely to dive into a hacksaw dirge or employ some of Portal’s patented putrescent slither. These songs consistently garrote melody and appropriate its powers for disturbing purpose.

Most interestingly, the bass makes a commanding mark on the entire album, plowing low-pitched ooze to create memories of viscous texture. The resulting subsonic vacuum recalls Alex Webster’s dominant role in the Cannibal Corpse sound. The drumming is organic and delightfully innocuous, adeptly fueling the multifarious rhythmic methodologies.

Autarch’s vocal performance is an essential ingredient in the album’s success. His charismatic cackles are filled with braggadocio, laughing in madness and frequently falling into deranged semi-melodic chants. The lyrics are cryptic, articulate, and intelligent, spinning tales of occult ritual and oblique nightmare; atmosphere is king.

Baphometic Chaosium is a step towards sophistication for LSOD. Their affair with ambiguous buzzing death is over, abandoned in favor of a multifaceted and refined black metal assault. I expect many new fans will fall under this album’s spell.


Baphometic Chaosium is out now on Metal Blade.

Check the very awesome and very NSFW video for the title track below:


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