It’s a rare and thoroughly enjoyable sensation to be faced with an album that you really can’t find fault with - and Advent Sorrow from Australia have managed this incredible feat on Kali Yuga Crown, their latest recording enjoying a physical release on Werewolf Records. (Find yourself some pre-order action here.)
The gut-punch misanthropic fury of war and desolation themes? Check. Absolute, crushing despair and hopelessness? Also check. Guitar-led compositions that are equal parts shimmering melody and scowling menace? Check, in spades. Crystalline composition that allows every aspect of the orchestration to shine in its own right while still forming a cohesive part of the greater collective? Yes indeed. And crowning it all, subtle yet effective keyboard elements that never diminish the heaviness, only underscore its scathing message? Check, check and check.
So why, after repeated listenings and continued enjoyment of Kali Yuga Crown, am I left slightly unfulfilled? This is an incredible album from the best-yet incarnation of the band (their early efforts as Dimmu Borgir clones were entertaining, but this version of Advent Sorrow translates as far more authentic), played and produced to perfection and touching on all the necessary themes of man’s inhumanity to man, but I still find myself wanting more... And what I really crave is a touch more rawness and a little less polish. Sure, I understand that every group wants to showcase their music in the best possible light - kind of like a painter not opting for a budget frame - but Advent Sorrow represents something so visceral and real, that Kali Yuga Crown is almost too perfect to accurately portray that.
The official video for “Wolfhook and Weapon” is a chilling example of the brasher, more confrontational side of Advent Sorrow.
As well as solid, Marduk-esque black metal compositions like “Verminblood” and “Spearhead,” Advent Sorrow produce some of the best contemporary DSBM around the mid-album mark: “Kali Yuga Crown” and its successor, “Pestilence Shall Come,” offer up bile-tainted, discomforting portraits of hopelessness that easily equal the most-convincing visions of misery from Psychonaut 4 or Nocturnal Depression.
The true winner and biggest surprise, though, comes in the form of “Caesar;” the insidious, sultry low-end malevolence is a unique voice on Kali Yuga Crown, raising gooseflesh with both its sensuality and venom.
The net result leaves me feeling much like Arthur Dent in Douglas Adams’So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish, where his swordfish steak makes him angry: Kali Yuga Crown finds me wanting to grab a passing musician by their bullet belt and berate them, “Why’s this album so bloody good?”
Some appropriately dismal visuals to accompany “Pestilence Shall Come.”
Kali Yuga Crown Track Listing:
02. Wolfhook and Weapon
04. Kali Yuga Crown
05. Pestilence Shall Come
07. Wells of Poison Water
08. Majesty Enshrined
09. With Conviction
10. Death in Magic Antagonism
Run Time: 52:53 Release Date: September 27, 2019 Record Label: Werewolf Records