A new Blaze of Perdition album is always welcome, with both 2015’s Near Death Revelations and 2017’s Conscious Darkness setting high standards. Pleasingly, The Harrowing of Hearts doesn’t let the side down, and offers 51 minutes of quality material, including a Fields of the Nephilim cover that closes the album.
Textured and dynamic, this is a collection of songs rich in layers and dark melody. The music is surprisingly catchy in places, with a Gothic feel that adds to this that’s occasionally wheeled out to great effect. It’s black metal, but not limited to any particular strain; it’s certainly modern and forward-thinking, yet there are classic elements too. Progressive and atmospheric components can be heard, as can the band’s occult heart.
This is intelligently crafted music that’s clearly black metal-as-art, yet still packs a visceral, emotive punch. This combination of head and heart makes for an album that’s both immediate and gradual; instant gratification is serviced, as is longevity and depth. The songs are darkly evocative and have an emotional content that’s higher than that of your average black metal band.
All of the performances are first-rate, but I particularly enjoy the drumming. Why? Because it sounds organic and warm, and the drums benefit from a very satisfying sound and feel. More than that though; they aren’t always played in the most conventionally blackened way, which, combined with what the rest of the music is doing, results in a vibrant, refreshing feel to the songs.
The Harrowing of Hearts is an impressively-wrought and very well-delivered release. Demonstrating a talented band not afraid to progress their style and push their creativity, these new songs are impactful, emotive, compelling, and very moreish. The Harrowing of Hearts is a well-rounded release that is an easy early highlight of 2020. Make sure you spend some time with this, as it’s a keeper.