Patronymicon - Ushered Forth By Cloven Tongue [Osmose Productions - 2019]
As we all know, the modern version of Black Metal, originated in Scandinavia. Almost thirty years have passed since then, but interest in the Scandinavian Black Metal bands is still high. This applies to both veterans and newcomers of the scene. Swedish band Patronymicon can hardly be called as newcomers, as they started the band in 2008. Though they are not the most prolific- as their discography only features four releases - these takes in 2010 self released mini-album Coldborn, and two full full-length albums - 2011’s Prime Omega and 2013’s All Daggers Towards The Sky, and lastly the release to hand their third full length Ushered Forth By Cloven Tongue which released by respected French label metal label Osmose Productions as either a CD, LP, or as a digital download. The album cover is a pretty interesting graphic work. The general background is the texture of the old yellowed paper, on which two translucent skeletons, wrapped in dark shrouds, from which snakes crawl, are depicted on the right and left. The left skeleton is placed upside down. In the middle of the cover is the main drawing - This is a monochrome illustration, which is an image of an anthropomorphic creature with a bird's head and a human male torso. In the right hand, raised up, the creature holds a knobstick. The left-hand holds an oval shield dotted with spikes. Instead of legs, the creature has two interwoven snakes crawling in different directions. At the top of the cover is a translucent band logo- this is written in stylized Gothic letters and slightly resembles the logo of the Swedish black metal band Dissection. The name of the album is located at the bottom of the cover. It’s also translucent and is written in one of the varieties of the Gothic font. The concept of the cover seemed interesting to me, although, in my opinion, the illustration felt rather crude. It may well be that the idea was to make an illustration in the medieval style, adding in a few heraldic motifs.
The album, has a runtime of little over forty-seven minutes, consisting of eight tracks. Before hearing this album, I was not familiar with Patronymicon music, but from what I heard here, I would call it quintessentially Swedish black metal. It so happened historically that in both Sweden and Norway the Black Metal style developed simultaneously. But the Swedish version of the genre seems is more brutal, tough and technical than the Norwegian take, focused in on creating a certain atmosphere. So, Patronymicon presents us with brutal black metal, which is full with interesting melodies and grooving riffs. The compositions are quite saturated. During one track, the rhythm can change several times, and with it, the melodic component also changes - from classic high-speed tremolo to swinging riffs and guitar solos. There is a strong influence of both thrash and death metal here, as well as the explicit touches of melodic death metal in the spirit of the likes of Dark Tranquillity and In Flames. Talking the influence of melodic death metal I also felt in the timbre of the vocalist hinted at this too- so I guess it’s best to say what we have here is a cross between black and death metal vocals. As for the overall sound of the album, I would call it a wall of sound. The professionalism of the musicians is certain on par for the genre. And the sound engineer did a great job on the album - creating a very clean and clear sound, that still maintains saturation, power, and brutality.
I can’t say that Ushered Forth By Cloven Tongue is either a particularly original or innovative album because there are so many recognizable and classic elements. An attentive listener will hear on this album the legacy of Marduk, Dissection, Dark Funeral, Dark Tranquility, Emperor or even Burzum and other famous brands. So, I can say that Patronymicon sounds like other key genre bands, but at the same time, not like anyone. Perhaps this is the main advantage of the album.Sergey Pakhomov