So, the warriors of Dethlehem have dropped a second album, aptly named The Ghorusalem Codex Vol. 2: Of Magick and Tyranny. (This would be a follow-up to their 2009 disc, The Ghorusalem Codex Vol 1: Enthroned Upon A Spire.) If you’re a fan of metal, or a fan of chaos involving things like trolls and dragons and wizards… you need this album.
Listen to this and try to tell me I’m wrong: Dethlehem “Hypergates of Infinitude” It’s one of my favorite tracks off of the album.
I’m big a fan of their first album, but this one blows it away in terms of recording, production, and overall album cohesiveness. The interludes in between songs have become a much better over-all narrative to help guide you along the quest. (The full story is coming soon to their website.)
Bovice and Hildor are the six-string men-at-arms, and the musicianship here makes me sick. The guitars are ridiculous, it’s almost too over the top… but with what Dethlehem has going on, it needs to be ridiculous. I’m talking shredding, sweeps, blazing riffs, and all manner of fretboard insanity. If I didn’t know these guys, I’d hate them… they make a punk rock power chord chump like me almost too embarrassed to pick up a guitar. Luckily for the Ernie and the Berts fan(s), I have no shame.
A slight lineup change on this album, Davidicus the Black replaces Galagore… not sure what the official story is, if Gallagore was eaten by a dragon or transformed into a toad by an evil witch or what. Davidicus is a wizard, and adds a dynamic both in story & in playing style. You can hear less doubling of guitar parts by the bass, more restraint where called-for musically, and stomping all over the place where appropriate.
Overlord Brom bangs on the drums like nobody’s business, and even my untrained ear can tell there’s all manner of math going on here with time-signature changes. This is not 4/4 rock n’ roll. Plus, when he plays live… he starts out with a bucket-like Helmet on his head where it must be impossible to see anything. (By the way, funniest character voice ever in the narratives.)
Lord Bonecrush has developed what I can only call a battle-hardened confidence in his vocals. While they were strong on Vol. 1, on Vol. 2 they’ve progressed to a point where any shred of vocal uncertainty is gone. The vocals are honed sharp like any good weapon should be before going into battle… yet there’s a double-edge… clean for slicing backed up with growling with a ferocity akin to aurally ripping you asunder. The backing vocals also stand out a little clearer on their own on this one… not sure who’s where… but it’s all done sparingly, tastefully, and appropriately.
While not a technical review by any means, I hope to have conveyed the overall feel of the album, and to have piqued your curiosity.
These guys put on an incredible live show… I suggest you buy the album to learn their songs, and then go see them when they come to plunder and pillage a venue near you. I’m not sure if you can fully appreciate the epic-ness through just a recording or video. They’re on tour now if you can catch them!
(In the interest of full disclosure, this may not be a completely objective review… I do know the guys, and they awesomely thanked me in the liner-notes of this disc… But I’d like to think that those who know me know I wouldn’t push crappy music on anyone.)