Pact - The Dragon Lineage of Satan [Moribund Records - 2012]
'The Dragon Lineage of Satan' is the debut album for Moribound Cult from Pennsylvanian black metallers, Pact. Describing themselves as 'Occultist Black Metal', taking influence from such practises as the Golden Dawn and Chaos Magick, amongst others, akin to the mighty Absu with their self-defined 'Mythological Occult Metal'. Unlike Absu however, Instead of progressive/thrash infused black metal, Pact go straight for the jugular and don’t relent for the entirety of the album, creating an absolute maelstrom of venomous, black metal fury.
'Litany to Satan' kick-starts the album with a frenzied attack of blast beats and buzz saw guitars, sounding like a mix between early period Marduk and Archgoat, high velocity, raw and to the point. The next few tracks follow this general formula, until we get to 'Ecstasy and Illumination' which drops down the intensity levels just enough to reveal some other facets to this particular act. The blast beats slow down a notch and the atmosphere takes the lead, delivering down-tuned, almost ethereal riffage, adding a bit of emotion to proceedings (albeit blackened and satanic, but emotion nonetheless). This feeling seems to overflow to 'The Flowers of Evil' adding a little more depth to proceedings, but this does not last for long as they dive headlong into full on aggression once again. By the time you get to 'Ascension from the Fall' things are beginning to feel a little stale, there is no real progression, just full on bludgeoning right to the bitter end.
Unfortunately the entire album suffers from some really murky production, suffice to say, this approach usually works well with black metal of this particular ilk, raw and unabating, but instead of giving everything that low-fi feel, the sounds are completely flat and uninspiring. The guitars especially need to be opened out more, as, at times when the pace becomes really hectic, they meld together and disappear under a wall of their own distortion. This is a really shame as the record has a lot of potential, getting off to a cracking start, but slowly losing momentum and at times becoming quite tedious and cliché. However, production aside, this is a pretty solid piece of work, certainly worthy of your attention if you tend to gravitate towards the more visceral end of the black metal spectrum, but don’t expect anything bursting with originality, what you see is what you get!Todd Robinson