Pepel - Official Website

Lord Of The Abyss

Croatia Country of Origin: Croatia

Lord Of The Abyss
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Buy on: Bandcamp
Type: Full-Length
Release Date: June 28th, 2024
Label: Independent
Genre: Black
1. A Small Crack In The Walls Of Hell, Through Which I See The Rays Of Heaven
2. Misanthropy And Sorrow
3. Lord Of The Abyss
4. Serpentine Waltz
5. Behold An Infernal Throne
6. Frozen Void
7. Departure Of Souls Into The Absence
8. Transcending The Glaze Of Eternal Hellfire

Review by Vladimir on June 29, 2024.

From the ashes of the gloomy Varaždin, and the haunting depths of Zagreb, comes the black metal band by the name of Pepel, formed by two highly controversial and prolific figures in Croatian extreme metal Mephistopheles and Inkvizitor. As the new dawn finally approaches, they have released their independent debut album Lord Of The Abyss on June 28th, 2024, to call upon the dark one and spread their unholy traditions. 

Kicking things off with 'A Small Crack In The Walls Of Hell, Through Which I See The Rays Of Heaven', the gong of the church bells and the solemn melancholy of acoustic guitars builds up the arrival of the Lord Of The Abyss. Coming forth with its raw and melancholic black metal, consisted of harsh shouting vocals and cold riffs, that with their overall simplicity and generally familiar nature, surprisingly sound very catchy and solid from the moment Pepel bursts out the underworld. Alongside all this primitive rawness and aggression, you also have some strong atmospheric and melodic moments on 'Behold An Infernal Throne' which really succeeded in grasping your mind. From start to finish, the album has a very straightforward course with its stylistic consistency that transitions between songs, maintaining that even flow of heaviness that was established from the second track 'Misanthropy And Sorrow'. A nice inclusion on this album is an instrumental track 'Serpentine Waltz' with its classical music styled piano playing and marching drums in the background, which is no surprise considering that Mephistopheles, to many known as Grof Vragovzov, has always had strong influences coming from composers such as Beethoven, Chopin and Samuel Barber. The album ends with a dark ambient track 'Transcending The Glaze Of Eternal Hellfire' which is very gothic horror styled and it nicely sums up this devilish journey. 

Surprised to say, the songwriting on this album is rather monotonous and straightforward with its simplicity, where it is pretty much following one formulaic song structure with its G minor chord progression and riffing that goes from one song to another. I’d say that the songwriting is a bit of a mixed bag, because there are moments when I can really feel the intensity and the emotions of the riffs, but sometimes I really feel like it’s rather shallow and empty. It does feel like it’s just one song being played multiple times, or at least like one song that is being played in a completely different variation, which sometimes proves itself to be very effective or very thinned out. First and foremost, this is quite understandable since Pepel is pretty much a band that ridicules black metal stereotypes with its generic and long song titles about satanism, darkness, death and such, along with their inverted cross logo, so it’s quite normal that they would actually make something along that line just for the sake of reminding how overblown and predictable black metal became after a while. Ironically, even though they tried their best to joke on these things, they still somehow managed to do it way too good and convincing that you would not believe it’s basically a band formed with the simple intention of parodying black metal through its musical output, unlike Detsörgsekälf and Vegan Black Metal Chef which do it in a much more obvious fashion. Production-wise, the album sounds pretty much the same as most of the previous works of Grof Vragovzov, bearing that similar raw and cave-reverb sound production, although perhaps a bit more unpolished in comparison to his notable works in Voha. 

Overall, this is pretty much a very straightforward album that doesn’t have anything outstanding about it, but it is clever with its way of presenting black metal stereotypes from a musical standpoint, as well as lyrical. Even though I did find it quite monotonous and boring after the second half, it still managed to entertain me more than some other bands that take themselves way too seriously and try their hardest to make their albums as best as they possibly can, only to end up miserably failing. Pepel is still a good work of two enthusiastic musicians who always have something nice to offer from their catalog. 

Rating: 7.5 out of 10