France continues to house a wealth of talent when it comes to metal, particularly those exploring the death and black metal variants. One of the relatively newer bands from the country is Impure Ziggurat, formed in 2012. Containing members who have also played with Necroblood and Svart Crown, Impure Ziggurat released their first demo in March of last year via Belgium label Magister Dixit. In September they’ll be releasing a two-song EP titled ‘Serenades of Astral Malevolence’, once again through Magister Dixit. Limited to 250 copies on 7” vinyl, this looks to be an EP that will be worth snatching up if you’re a fan of dense, chaotic black/death metal. Today we’re excited to bring you Summoning Oort’s Semen, the second song from ‘Serenades of Astral Malevolence’.
This may only be their second release, but you can tell that the four years Impure Ziggurat has had to hone their craft has paid off. Summoning Oort’s Semen is a lengthy track, coming in at almost six and a half minutes, but the instrumentalists are able to make the most of this run time. Early on the riffing falls closer to the death metal side of the spectrum, with the low-pitched guitar and bass work coming together to form a dense blast that threatens to completely envelop the listener in its controlled chaos. There are bursts of black metal that break through these layers though, as some of the leads have that icier chill to them and the melodies seem to hover over top of the cavernous base the rest of the band has created. Whenever a group can offer this type of denser, chaotic riffing that has an almost suffocating feel to it I’m drawn to it, and Impure Ziggurat succeeds at accomplishing this. At around the three quarter mark there’s a pause, and some more of the black metal influences seep in through slower, ritualistic breaks that refocus your attention and lead the material to its conclusion.
Lead guitarist TR handles the vocal work for Impure Ziggurat, and if you’ve heard any of Necroblood’s releases some of the pitches may sound familiar as he also handles vocals for that band. His expansive, lower growls early on in Summoning Oort’s Semen are what give off most of the death metal feel and it’s sure to remind listeners of groups like Abyssal. The commanding growls that seem to expand in just as cavernous of a manner as the instrumentals take the spotlight for the majority of the song, but when there is that pause and shift towards black metal the vocals follow suit. At this point TR’s voice heads into higher territory, with a raspier scream/chant taking over from the lower ranges. It’s a subtle shift but gives the material a bit more variation than some might be initially expecting.
This early look at ‘Serenades of Astral Malevolence’ showcases a level of polish that isn’t always common for a band only on their second release, but the longer incubation period and experience of the members certainly helps with that. Impure Ziggurat is able to perfectly balance the cavernous, destructive death metal sound with a slower, ritualistic black metal one and it leaves a strong impression. ‘Serenades of Astral Malevolence’ will be out in September via Magister Dixit, and this looks to be another French band to keep an eye on.