Embers and Revelations

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Not to be confused with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal one-hit wonders (and several additional bands using this common moniker), Canada's Weapon got their start circa 2003 in, of all places, Bangladesh, where driving force Vetis Monarch was apparently born and raised before relocating to Calgary, Alberta. Nearly ten years, numerous demos, and two albums later, the quartet saw its underground success and rather ingenious interpretation of the blackened death/thrash template rewarded with a deal from Relapse Records, and the resulting third album, 2012's Embers and Revelations, is poised to accelerate the growing buzz that's been building around Weapon for some time now. Contrary to perhaps understandable expectations, though, all the attention has little to do with Vetis' cultural background. While a few exotic sounds and mystic subjects do crop up here and there (more on that in a bit), it's actually his band's unusually self-possessed style that draws attention, for allowing songs to develop more deliberately and instinctively, rather than losing themselves in wanton savagery and appendage-blurring speed. And so, in spite of their gratuitously over the top titles and obscure, occult-laced lyrics to match, striking numbers like "The First Witnesses of Lucifer" and "Crepuscular Swamp, Unhinged Swine" almost tease their victims with malicious melodic fangs and complex rhythm guitar musculature, held in check by restrained tempos possibly meant to heighten tension by concealing the feral beast that crouches in the shadows, ready to pounce at any moment. When they do, watch out, because blastbeat-driven efforts like "Vanguard of the Morning Star," "Liber Lilith," and the title track quickly show what carnage Weapon are capable of, scissoring like flurries of jagged piranha jaws that slice and dice relentlessly. As mentioned earlier, the album doesn't do without Eastern-flavored undercurrents, as seen on "Disavowing Each in Aum" (based on the Japanese terrorist cults) and "Shahensha" (Near Eastern terminology for "emperor"), but these are clearly secondary to more typical Westernized adversaries like Mr. Satan and his Bride, Lilith, above. In other words, Weapon haven't even begun exploiting those ethnic gimmicks to their advantage, and yet the distinctive blackened death/thrash of Embers and Revelations is already scary good.

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