The Reckoning


Counterblast

Belgium Country of Origin: Belgium

Counterblast
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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: June 20th, 2008
Genre: Black, Death
1. Intro
2. Downward Discipline
3. March To Your Death
4. Heap Of Wretchedness
5. Hellkind
6. Vermicular
7. Nailed To Iniquity
8. Level Of Containment
9. Bleed Divine
10. Dead Shall Rise

Review by Carl on February 27, 2023.

The Reckoning is the continuation of the black metal band Infernal Legion, an act that I mostly remember from a not that memorable full length. Next to that, I also have encountered them live once, horribly out of place opening for Extreme Noise Terror. From that show I only remember an Exumer cover and a deafening silence from the audience. For some reason I can't explain, the name change and shift in musical direction some years later wasn't that big of a surprise, really. On their debut as The Reckoning they certainly showed that they had their shit together better, and this album, their second, is a logical continuation of that.

Build on a sturdy foundation of varied death metal with thrash and black metal elements, the band reminds me of acts like Behemoth, Zyklon and Belphegor, with Vader not far off. Blazing death metal with excellent Morbid Angel-tinged riffing and hoarse, shouty vocals, propelled forward by percussion alternating blasting frenzy with thrashing beats and double kick drive. The main focus is primarily on uptempo death metal, but at times the band allows for slower parts to come in. It is in these moments that a twisted sense of melody and atmospheric touches creep in, supplying the music with some well placed variation. Their black metal roots shine through in a subtle manner, and work well with the death and thrash metal riffing they have on offer. And while the music is pretty cool, I'm not that awed by the vocals, which is a matter of personal taste, I'll admit. I would not have minded a gruffer approach there.

Another area that could have used a gruffer approach is the production. The horrible triggered drums ruin quite a lot of the general atmosphere the music has build up. In no way a bad effort by drummer Morbid for sure, but the plastic and terribly clinical sound manages to gut the overall atmosphere of what the band has on offer. Even worse, this clicking and clacking drum mix has the unfortunate side effect to even neuter a lot of the riffs and general sound. It is a production very of its time, but I never cared for it, and here it becomes very clear why. While the music is cool, precise and pretty energetic, it's all too bad that the production sucks out a lot of the atmosphere of this offering. A gruffer, more earthy approach to the overall sound would have benefitted the band in a huge amount, I'm sure.

It's one of those releases that is not bad at all, but because of the details mentioned only seldom makes it off the shelf and into the CD-player.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

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Review by JD on January 19, 2009.

Ah... Belgian metal, some of my favourite albums have come out of this small nation's obsession for heaviness and brutality in music. With that said... Belgian metal is just like a two sided sword. It is either cutting edge good and cuts into you with the slightest beat, or it just dulled and very lifeless music begging for to be put out of its misery. Which will it be for The Reckoning?

First off, this band have been around since 1993 (Originally named Infernal Legion) and they have had two demos, a full album and a mini album under this moniker. From what I remember of them, they were raw and quite brutal Black Metal. Now as they are called The Reckoning (with one LP under the name already) they seemed to have evolved into a tight melodic mixture of Black, Death and Thrash Metal that is leaps and bounds past their original sounds.

Simply put... this outfit (Three regular members, one guest bassist, they have found a new bassist now.) blasts out some of the most furious and demonically angry music. The blast away with great speed, but they show that there is great amounts of melody to go with it. Their riffs can be almost described as being catchy... because they are memorable as they are brutal.

Lyrics are growled out with the acridness of sulphuric acid, honed to a sharp perfection that spews darkness and the grotesque indignance toward pitiful human life. The song lyrics are short, but man they are massively good with what they use. Songs like 'Heap Of Wretchedness' and 'Hellkind' show both utter heaviness and speed that is matched up perfectly with this great sense of pure musicality as well.

The Reckoning are a force that is hard to ignore, yet they do not establish anything close to new here for the Black Metal world ... but they do create amazing metal that suits them. All of what is on the album seems points out the fact that they are evolving into a great band all on their own... and that is more than enough for me to enjoy them.

Categorical Rating Breakdown

Musicianship: 8
Atmosphere: 8
Production: 8
Originality: 8
Overall: 8

Rating: 8 out of 10

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