Demon days with Unholy Archangel

UNHOLY ARCHANGEL: Kataclysmic Perversions

Release year: 2019
Label: Frost And Fire

In comparison to Abominablood’s demo collection, which we reviewed earlier, this compilation of demo and split material by Greek black metal act Unholy Archangel does things far better when it comes to the presentation. As a result, it leaves a far more favourable impression despite the quality of the music itself not necessarily being much better.

What this compilation does right is something as simple as giving the necessary background info. The booklet tells from which releases the tracks have been culled, presents the cover art for the original releases, gives the release dates, line-up’s and labels. The inclusion of a short bio of the band is a nice bonus. This is how a release like this should be presented!

Musically, the listener is in for a bumpy journey. Unholy Archangel have never been ones to polish their music or make it appealing to the wide masses. No, this is crude, primitive and mainly quite fast black metal without any consideration for making it accessible. Especially some of the stuff taken from the early demos is very, very crude: I don’t know if the band used a drum machine, but it sure sounds like it. It also sounds very disjointed, like the drums and guitars have nothing to do each other, and the gruffly growled vocals were thrown on top as an afterthought. Easy listening this isn’t.

It does get better and more coherent when the compilation moves on to newer stuff. But it’s always primitive, crude and boneheaded. Unholy Archangel is certainly something of an acquired taste with their rather simplistic, straightforward songs based on speedy tempos and buzz-sawing guitars, quite sloppy playing, crude sound and questionable production values. I suppose one could say there’s obviously a reason why the Greek band have remained a cult name even in the underground instead of having risen to prominence, and the proof is in the pudding served on Kataclysmic Perversions.

On a purely musical level, this compilation ranges from wobbly to passable. It’s certainly nothing for the casual listener, and won’t endear the band to many who approach Kataclysmic Perversion not knowing what they’re getting. But as a demo compilation, I don’t suppose it tries to do that; rather, it allows fans and followers of the band to get rare and out-of-print material in one easy-to-get anthology. As such, it serves its purpose more than adequately, thanks to the already mentioned effort put into the presentation.


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