- Includes the self titled 12" EP tracks as bonus.
(Description by C. Conrad)
A mere matter of months since it released its first official recording, “Demo I,” Perverted Ceremony returns with its uniquely abominable variety of black metal, hereby presenting its debut full-length album, “Sabbat of Behezaël,” under the very same banner of Nuclear War Now! First discovered by NWN! through the time-honored underground tradition of the band spreading self-produced cassettes to a limited number of contacts, Perverted Ceremony’s music reflects the same authenticity and dedication to their craft as their original manner of clandestine distribution. Although the band lists such revered acts as Demoncy, Mystifier, Von, Blasphemy, Profanatica, Archgoat, and Beherit, as their primary influences, their sound tends to gravitate somewhat more towards the latter two (along with Barathrum), who represent the Finnish tradition of bestial black metal. That said, Perverted Ceremony’s style is not easily compartmentalized according to their influences. On the contrary, with their distinctive approach to songwriting, production, and atmosphere, they have achieved a ritualistic blend of black metal that is unique unto itself. Additionally, Perverted Ceremony has proven with this album that the work recorded on its demo, which was already impressive in its own right, was only a snapshot in the band’s development, and one which has now been superseded.
The first of several elements that bind both the demo and the album is the band’s preferred reliance on using the very same analog eight-track recorder for both recordings. This deliberate choice has resulted in a very similarly full and organic, but not overly-refined, production value between the two. Another welcomed constant is the hideously buzzing guitar tone, which combines perfectly with the tremolo-picked riffing style, thus forming what has become one of the band’s trademark characteristics on both recordings. When coupled with the bass, often picking the same infernal note sequences a few octaves below it, the effect is a sound that burrows itself into the mind of the listener and is not easily extricated. On top of that mind-infesting buzz, deft flourishes of guitar leads emerge and rise above this hurtling maelstrom before fully dematerializing, proving to be a critical element that most bands of this type lack. The vocals on this album also inhabit and haunt the same accursed, sub-terrestrial registers as its preceding demo, lending it a most godforsaken aura.
Of course, there are differences between the demo and “Sabbat of Behezaël” which afford the latter a degree of superiority. Gone are the sampled intros of satanic sexual ritual that prefaced most songs on the demo. Though quite appropriate for that type of release, such an inclusion would have proven to be a distraction on a full-length album, and instead they are replaced with more minutes of the band’s own depraved ceremony. Also notable is the inclusion of a greater number and variety of riffs and tempo changes. Individual songs alternate within themselves from blisteringly fast tempos to black doom sequences reminiscent of Norway’s Faustcoven. The sum of these qualities, both formerly established and newly awakened, promise to make “Sabbat of Behezaël” one the highlights, if not THE black metal beacon of darkness of 2017.
Perverted Ceremony "Perverted Ceremony" EP
(Description by C. Conrad)
Few active bands embody the authentic spirit of black metal as convincingly as Belgium’s Perverted Ceremony. Beginning with its 2016 “Demo I” and later punctuated in 2017 with the debut full-length, “Sabbat of Behezaël,” Perverted Ceremony has proven that the most effective music in this subgenre is that which emphasizes an aura of vileness and evil over the sterility that often results from modern recording and production techniques. It is in part this approach that has led to comparisons between Perverted Ceremony and some of the most respected names in black metal, with a particular resemblance to the Finnish tradition promulgated by such revered cults as Beherit and Barathrum. Although such high praise would be expected from the label charged with releasing the band’s work, it is substantiated by the fact that both the demo and album have already sold out multiple pressings over the course of the past year.
As was the case with these previous releases, Nuclear War Now! has again conspired with the band to release the self-titled “Perverted Ceremony” EP on twelve-inch vinyl format. Prefaced with an intro and featuring two longer tracks, “Graveyard Sacred Worship” and “Malformed Procreation,” this recording resumes where “Sabbat of Behezaël” left off. Still present are the established hallmarks of Perverted Ceremony’s sound, which is perhaps most uniquely identifiable in the incessantly buzzing guitars and bass, each inhabiting its own infernal register. These bleats are accompanied by the same demonic vocal incantations and ominous keyboard progressions as on previous recordings, both of which lend a ritualistic element to the music. The artwork that graces the cover of the EP is from a painting that depicts the osculum infame, or “Shameful Kiss,” a practice whereby a witch would greet and pay homage to the Devil by kissing his anus, or “other mouth.” Finally, in addition to appearing on the stand-alone vinyl version of this release, all three new tracks are also included on the CD version of “Sabbat of Behezaël,” which is to be released simultaneously and thereby promises to further the dissemination of this gospel of sinful immorality.