Thursday, August 07, 2014

Pact: The Infernal Hierarchies, Penetrating the Threshold of Night (2014)

Pennsylvanian Hunger

Boy, that album title is a mouthful. Helpful hint: if your album title is a complete sentence, consider cutting it down a little nit. Pact is a black metal band out of Transylvania... no, wait, make that Pennsylvania. The publicity materials make a big deal out of the fact that this is the band's long-awaited, highly-anticipated second album, making it sound as if it has been a decade or so since the last one. That is blatantly incorrect as Pact released their debut in 2012 and have only been around since 2006. Plus, I must have missed their debut because this is the first time I have heard of Pact. I have been a little out of the loop in recent years, but not that much.

Anyway, the opening paragraph made it sound like this was not a very good album and I do have to apologize about that, because this is a very good modern black metal album. The U.S. black metal scene is not nearly as cohesive as other scenes. There are not too many over-arching similarities among local scenes, and some of those that do exist are not overly impressive. Which is why Pact is so interesting, because they are one of the few U.S. black metal bands that really do sound powerful and intense.

If I had to pick a band that Pact resembles most, I would pick blackened death metal-era Behemoth crossed with some Immortal for good measure. The sound is cacophonous and brutal. Most of the riffs are faster, with heavy, pounding drums, and some truly dark atmospheres. The production is impressive, another rarity for underground U.S. black metal. The vocals are not the overly screachy type that are used often in black metal. They hit just the right amount of screachiness while retaining some lower-end growling for good measure.

This is a very intense, aggressive black metal album, which means it is right up my alley. I have said time and time again that the faster, more aggressive black metal is what gets me going and Pact definitely pull that off.

I give this album 4 out of 5 stars.

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