Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Paimonia - Disease Named Humanity

"Black, Bleak & Blistering"

I like my black metal the way I like my coffee: unblended, dense, and preferably with no sugary additives.

And dark as pitch, of course. Pitch-fucking-dark.

“Disease Named Humanity” is the debut full-length release of the Serbian duo Paimonia, who have since issued a split vinyl and a live recording on VHS, effectively staying busy and active. In a time and day when black metal is a teeming, worldwide phenomenon (and where having suckled mountain trolls at the icy-cold bottom of a faraway fjord someplace where Norway becomes Niflheim is no longer a mandatory credential for delivering properly grim and frostbitten svartmetal), it takes much more than just a few croaks atop the regular potpourri of buzz ‘n’ fuzz guitars, zero bass, and minimalist tick-tock drumming to raise eyebrows.

Paimonia deliver a lot more than that, fortunately.

Although slightly unremarkable and forgettable in places, “Disease Named Humanity” is a vigorous, ably executed slab of dynamic modern-day black metal – and, considering it’s a debut full-length release, very promising indeed. Intelligent, stimulating riffwork is prevalent throughout all 41 minutes of album length, and the duo of Bojan (vocals, guitars, bass) and Nikola (drums) keep things interesting with a few tricks & turns in the songwriting formula, notably by contrasting animated blastbeat-driven passages with slower, occasionally acoustic, interludes. What they basically lack in outstanding character, Paimonia make up for with quality riffs, topnotch musicianship, clever variation and sheer intensity.

“Disease Named Humanity” consists of just seven tracks, fittingly ending on a high note with the standout atmosphere-laden dirge “Funeral of Decaying World” and its instrumental addendum “Opus VII”, together spanning almost 13 minutes. Other highlights include album opener “As Plague Scourge This World Apart” (please don’t mind the English!) with its zany, dissonant riffing – not unlike a cleaner, less grimy version of Watain – as well as the epic, rather polymorphous “Depth Within Nothingness Called Life”, which features Gothenburg-esque melodic riffing and an eerie, haunting midsection that would make for a killer recurring theme in a classic horror movie.

All in all, Paimonia is an outfit worth a mental bookmark for black metal fans with a particularly tender spot for the atmospheric and melodic, yet still hard-hitting and savage. First-tier bands like the aforementioned Watain and 1349 are not many hyperborean leagues away from the core of “Disease Named Humanity”, but there is plenty of individuality on display here to make for a praiseworthy stand-alone offering, as well as one which sets the tone for a decidedly gobsmacking follow-up.