Babylon Whores

Deggael

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Great promise was exhibited on Babylon Whores' 1997 debut, Cold Heaven, so it's logical that the follow-up EP, Deggael, would exhibit something closer to the Finnish band's conceptualizations (which were most fully realized on the group's much-overlooked death rock masterpiece, 2000's King Fear). Deggael is an EP that lives up to its intentions: six tunes clocking in at just under 21 minutes that leave the listener unfulfilled simply for lack of more quality product, which superbly balances aggression, melody, and top-notch songwriting. And so there's "Sol Niger," a high-drama, mid-tempo goth metal epic bursting with memorable, minor-key guitar melodies and singer Ike Vil's intriguingly cryptic, Pagan-themed lyrics -- a song so subtle and straightforward that one doesn't fully appreciate its profundity and gnarled beauty until a few repeat listens wedge the main melodic theme firmly in one's skull. "Omega Therion" is a re-recorded holdover from Cold Heaven, and sounds a bit clunky in comparison to the gut-wrenching, heavy-as-heck power riffing of "Somniferum" and the sublime, haunting rocker "Emerald Green." Then comes "Deggael: A Rat's God," a muted, droning, acoustic strummer that invokes scenes of sinister deviltry with more creepily quiet evil than can be whipped out of the molten sea of distorted guitars and blastbeated drumming embraced so blindly by the Babylon Whores' peers. Fans who tripped over King Fear will want to seek out Deggael, the EP being a key element of the Babylon Whores' limited discography and marking the outfit's first truly successful foray into the mouth of the beast.

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