Pestilential Shadows - Official Website - Interview

Devil's Hammer

Australia Country of Origin: Australia

1. Devil's Hammer
2. Bitter Cross
3. Despot Of Cathartic Vigor
4. Tears Of The Scythe
5. Scaphism
6. Jackal
7. Armour Satanised
8. Goddess Of Winter
9. Shards Of Dusk

Review by Jeger on June 17, 2024.

The oft overlooked Australian black metal scene - home to the legendary Deströyer 666, but also to newcomers Hunters Moon and new wave of black metal veterans, Pestilential Shadows. The latter has - since 2003 - released seven LP’s, much to the enthrallment of critics. As proud members of Ordo Ater Anguis (a Satanic order of Australian black metal bands), Pestilential Shadows’ musical influences run much deeper than where genre and rapprochement reach. As it is with most occult BM covens, their esoteric works remain a mystery, and such is only proper. But on a musical level PS hold nothing back and offer up only the most passion-driven dark art. Elite level black metal that honors Him in all of his infernal glory. On March 1, Pestilential Shadows released their latest LP, Devil's Hammer under the watchful eye of Northern Silence Productions.

Pure Satanic black metal here, as warm and seductive as His diabolical calling. Let us navigate deeper through the darkness now under the light of Lucifer and by the guidance of Pestilential Shadows. Throughout this perilous expedition we find ourselves at the will of flurrying notes and ever-shifting arrangements as the collective sound of true Australian BM permeates the ambience. Segmented with the recording’s more intense portions oft giving way to dreamlike lulls in tracks like the opening titular cut and its follower 'Bitter Cross' that unfurl to varied rhythms: blast-beats, martial cadences and mellow double-bass currents. This is the type of passion only found within the sphere of occult black metal. It feels almost as if the record was realized in trance mode; so organic as opposed to a forced studio product. Each track melding seamlessly into the next, but always keeping you anticipating and at the edge of your seat.

Midway through, a 'Jackal' is unleashed; patient in its bloodlust and set loose upon the hunt to mid-tempo’d melodic sequences and a wise approach to percussion. An impassioned lead to only further drive one into a state of gnostic bliss. And as what has been a deep experience culminates with 'Shards Of Dusk', it's to more of those patient progressions that we've become accustomed to. An epic! A devilish soliloquy set to easy, melancholic parts that sooth the savage beast. Clean guitar arrangements converge with mellow atmospheric elements but without the use of keyboards or synth. Mastery of all conventional metal instruments to deliver all the atmosphere one could ask for. Intensity building now into a steady tempest before the dagger is driven in to haunting ambient keyboard effects; creating a memorable finish to this world-class black metal record.

A volume to rival some of the very best of what the Scandinavian scene has to offer is Devil’s Hammer. Nothing experimental or nerve-wrackingly epic, only tried and true methods and what's musically orthodox. The less-is-more approach paying dividends here in this most profound black metal recording. True Australian black metal doesn’t get much sweeter and it’s a taste you’ll long for again and again as this album begs for multiple spins. So, raise your infernal chalice high and prepare to catch within it this crimson bounty of genre lifeblood. Cheers!

Rating: 8.5 out of 10