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Baptism – V: The Devils Fire – Album Review

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Baptism
V: The Devils Fire
Season of Mist
Release Date: 22 July 2016
Review by Quinton Farrow

You can’t really blame mainstream music audiences for the stereotyping of black-metal musicians. One look at Finnish black metal band Baptism; sighting corpse paint, hoods and spikes, coupled with the hellish album art from the forthcoming release V: The Devils Fire, is enough to form an early opinion on their social or political views. But this is art, it does not necessarily imitate life, and while the lyrical content does take from Satanic mysticism, it should be the music that defines Baptism; and that music is not only some of the best in extreme music in 2016, but in rock.

Lord S is the founding member, and while he’s the mastermind behind the music, it is an incredibly unified sounding album, which is surprising given the line-up changes the band have endured over the years. The production is raw and authentic, yet constructed in a way that allows the finer textures of the sound to flourish. Yes, it can be blistering, ferocious and unnerving, but melodies can be unearthed throughout, sometimes even taking the lead on the slower paced, Abyss. The drumming is relentless from start to finish, full of exciting fills, blast beats and driving rhythms; all relatively typical of black metal. Yet, the additional layers that are added through multiple guitarists (3 in fact) add a real classy element, whereas touches of progressive and classical rock and doom are evident throughout.

Each song has distinguishing characteristics that make the album enjoyable to sit through from start to finish, guest vocalists Mikko Kotamaki (Swallow the Sun) and Mynni Luukkainen (Horna) appear on The Sacrament of Blood and Ash and Satananda respectively, these touches add a human feel to the Satanic like depths that are reached early on. Cold Eternity, has an equally appealing yet ear piercing industrial grind, like the Devil himself striking steel on steel, while the solo on Devil’s Fire is memorable and unique for this genre.

Looks can be deceiving, and it would be a really bad mistake to overlook this one in 2016, V: The Devil’s Fire is a dynamic, interesting and really exciting album, and the best of Baptism’s career.

4/5

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