Babylon Whores

Cold Heaven

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Cold Heaven was indeed a refreshing pancake spewed out of the European underground metal scene, for amongst eviler-than-thou, hell-hammered black metal blasphemers and Iron Maiden-derived melodic death metal clones came Babylon Whores, proudly dragging rock & roll's cross back into consciousness -- and being intelligent to boot, convincingly well-researched in paganism, the black arts, and, most importantly, killer songwriting. The Whores' sound is the bastard child of Metallica and Danzig, embracing up-tempo thrash ("Beyond the Sun," "Enchiridion of the Common Man") with a smidgen of dramatic, albeit muscular, goth pageantry ("In Arcadia Ego," "Babylon Astronaut") and in-the-pocket rhythms -- a sound that the band itself pegged "death rock." Opening track "Deviltry" is a skin-shredder, its exuberant riffs white-knuckling through decidedly European-sounding melodic cathedrals, bolstered by the throaty croon-cum-growl of singer Ike Vil, who instantly invokes the sinister drone of Sisters of Mercy's Andrew Eldritch, conducting a séance with Glenn Danzig himself, minus any overwrought Jim Morrison/Elvis impersonations. Not every song successfully evokes ghastly spirits of the night, but Cold Heaven is still a startlingly fresh blast of demon breath -- a well-thought-out platter, very believably pagan in ideology and therefore more creepily convincing as a whole. The band exudes intelligence and a bit of sly humor, and therefore sacked, looted, and pillaged the (almost laughably) poker-faced underground, confidently armed with memorable riffs, melodies, and hooks that don't necessarily pander to anybody's short attention span. Call Babylon Whores the successors to Danzig's goth-rock throne if you must, but to pin such limitations on a band with such massive potential -- which would be realized on 1999 full-length masterpiece King Fear -- is a crime.

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