Preludium - Redemption - (7/10)
Published on March 17, 2014
Redemption is the fourth full length from the Poland-based blackened death metal act Preludium. Sharing many similarities with droves of other Polish blackened death metal bands, Preludium certainly has their work cut out for them because any fan of Polish blackened death metal can tell you that the style has been done to death. Preludium’s previous full length album was lauded for its militaristic, war-themed styling, so it’s quite surprising to the see the band working with spiritual themes. While the music on Redemption certainly falls close in line with the band’s previous albums, there seems to be a more aesthetic play with quietude verses blasting chaos. I’m sure this has to with the switch in lyrical themes, but it allows for a more dynamic playback.
Preludium offers everything that makes Polish blackened death what it is: nearly nonstop blasting drums with a slightly technical flair; nail dragging guitar riffs and rhythmic palm muting; and unearthly growls from the abyss. Where the band truly makes their mark is during the dusty and twisted grooving guitar riffs like during “Incarnations” and “Sins of Mankind”. Sure these groove laden riffs are as heavy as an iron clad warship, but it shows that the band can do something other than just blast away for the entirety of the album. The band didn’t completely drop the militarism of previous affairs; as there are still chunks of concrete blasted away by mortar shells, but the atmospheric touches throughout add a dash of maturity to the songwriting.
I have no idea why the band started this album with “Soul Torment”, as it is probably the weakest track here. It showcases a thunderous, galloping riff, but the track doesn’t go anywhere. It plods along for five minutes at the same pace. The middle of the track completely fails, as the drums lose all power and the vocals go into some weird, distant mumbling. Sure the little melodic accoutrements throughout and strong bass line sound nice, but it doesn’t show Preluidum at their strongest. Thankfully the rest of the album gets in gear with a nice mix of blasting drums and crawling guitar patterns with temporary lulls to gather what’s left of you battered senses. Come to think of it, the double bass drum doesn’t really have any power throughout the album: it’s fast and nimble but it sounds too soft and light footed. Aside from the neutered bass drum sound, the production is actually solid.
Redemption can truly stand toe-to-toe with most of Poland’s blackened death metal output over the last decade. It’s a style that has been done before and done again countless times, but Preludium show that nostalgic blackened death metal can still be a bone crushing good time. Sure, they have their share of missteps here; places where the band gets bogged down and goes nowhere, but the overall presentation is pummeling. Fans of mid-period Behemoth and Hate should find that warm and fuzzy feeling on Redemption. There’s nothing going on here that hasn’t been done before by either of those bands (or the Polish blackened death metal scene in general), but Preludium come across competent and confident and Redemption is a solid addition to their discography.