Charnel House – Voiceless Hymns C70

7 August 2015 offering No Comment

RELEASE-106-groupCharnel House – Voiceless Hymns C70

Auris Apothecary

Voiceless Hymns is essentially a compilation of instrumentalist Adam Sommers’ work before his collaboration with vocalist Priestess Hellfire over two major pieces of music – a Self-Titled album and a split with a band called Agakus. As such, it has all the charm of a demo including inconsistent recording quality, tape machine flaws and other unintended recording artifacts – necessary naivete. So these charming recordings contrast significantly with Charnel House‘s current sound.

The Self Titled side can be divided into two type of tracks – drum-less drone metal and blast beat safaris. For the former category, “Abominable”, the first track on Side A, grumbles forth from a softly howling guitar that has a bit of a SunnO))) flair to it while “Contristo” uses a drone boxed in a distant reverb to achieve its atmosphere. The other tracks are oriented around blast-beats and throw guitars and bass into the mix in a variety of configurations. The drums in particular, are recorded in different ways that really help define the tracks as opposed to the riffs. “From Flies’ Wings” creates tension using Burzum tinged dissonance and pairs it with another riff that levitates somewhere between. Taken together, the recordings are a wilderness with lots of interesting bits of psychedelia tucked throughout.

I think that this recording might be a first listen for a lot of people which is cool, because Charnel House‘s current sound is a little too gawdy-jewlery, skulls and weed smoke doom metal for my liking and Princess Hellfire‘s vocals don’t do it for me on their more recent albums like Black Blood. Or maybe that’s your thing…as a mostly instrumental project, however, Voiceless Hymns achieves the beginnings of a project that could really stand on its own. Auris Apothecary, unsurprisingly and cleverly, packages this affair in a silk-screened canvas bag and with a small vial of bone fragments.

Composition: ★★★☆☆
Sounds: ★★★½☆
Production Quality: ★★★☆☆
Concept: ★★★☆☆
Packaging: ★★★★☆
Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

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