Tits. That old chestnut. Slap a pair on your album cover and you're automatically guaranteed additional attention. It's worked within the context of Cradle of Filth's aesthetic for years. For good measure, Dutch death crew Antropomorphia have two pairs adorning the cover of their latest work, 'Sermon ov Wrath'... and a decapitated head for the complete erotic horror effect. However, for the music fan ensnared by the lure of the tit, the resulting music can often be hit and miss... or should that be "tit and miss"? Fortunately, it's more tit than miss here.
With gaping, big holes in their discography between their 1993 debut EP, 'Necromantic Love Songs' and three subsequent albums, 'Pure' (1998), 'Evanglivm Nekromantia' (2012) and 'Rites ov Perversion' (2014), it seems Antropomorphia are finally finding their prolific stride since they became reactivated as a unit in 2009. 'Sermon ov Wrath' is a solid addition to their body of work, albeit not a mindblowing one.
Nice pacing variations are present throughout the nine cuts of blackened death discharge, which have a great organic, rather than clinically conceived, sound. There's no over-produced sterility here. I guess it's something of a paradox to state that Antropomorphia's music sounds alive, given the band's genre roots, but 'Sermon ov Wrath' is living, breathing beast. And with their core death prominence fused with elements of thrash, groove and a healthy dose of black, the album, at least, doesn't succumb to monolithic death stagnancy. As such, it remains a fairly engaging listen, particularly with the richly dark atmospheres that radiate from the music.
Highlights? 'Ad Me Venite Mortui' is a succinctly conceived, short instrumental piece, which segues into 'Crown ov the Dead'; an infectious mid-paced, quasi-groove-riffer, complete with a sublety of female vocals embedded in the song's atmospherically integrated layers. The ridiculously titled 'Within Her Pale Tomb ov Putrid Lust' belies its cheesy name with Ferry Damen's growls sounding particularly menacing on this one. 'The Blistering Splendour ov Darkness' treads a little more into black metal territory, with the song's tremolo-picked riffing more pronounced above its death underpinnings (and some well-posited, mid-song dissonant guitar arpeggios)... and likewise during passages of album closer, 'In Bestial Decadence'.
'Sermon ov Wrath' is a good, solid album but, as I've already mentioned, there's nothing particularly astounding on offer. Although, for those of you whose tit curiosity is piqued by the cover art then, rest assured, there's enough here to satisfy your blackened death desires.
SERMON OV WRATH
Review by Mark Holmes
24th February 2017
1) Sermon ov Wrath
2) Suspiria de Profundis
3) Murmur ov the Dead
4) Ad Me Venite Mortui
5) Crown ov the Dead
6) Sinful Rapture
7) Within Her Pale Tomb ov Putrid Lust
8) The Blistering Splendour ov Darkness
9) In Bestial Decadence
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...for those of you whose tit curiosity is piqued by the cover art then, rest assured, there's enough here to satisfy your blackened death desires."