As the metal market slowly changes its tone, Victory Records takes a bold step out of their norm by signing Montreal black metal horde, ERIMHA. In three quick years, ERIMHA has built and rebuilt itself from a five-piece to a newly-shuffled foursome. Their second album "Reign Through Immortality" will be an instant grab for those who've sat impatiently waiting for the next DIMMU BORGIR album.
Employing a theatrical style of black metal, ERIMHA is a steamrolling embodiment of DIMMU BORGIR, EMPEROR, DARK FUNERAL, MELECHESH and NILE. With choral fugue supplementation, swarming orchestral samples and funeral chimes galore, ERIMHA (a Sumerian term for army or legion) rips all available airspace asunder on "Reign Through Immortality".
If you're familiar with all of the aforementioned associations, then you know what you're getting with ERIMHA. Black metal has reached a maturation phase where it's been spread into three sanctions: the stylish-expressive (WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM and AGALLOCH), the soul-charred purists (GORGOROTH, LEVIATHAN and MARDUK) and the would-be cinematic, the latter of which to ERIMHA subscribes.
It's not so much actual Satanism that charges up "Reign Through Immortality", but it is one of the most evil tones to nudge its way through a portal to the metal mainstream offered by Victory Records. ERIMHA is best savored while reading "Red Sonja", "Conan" or "Warlord of Mars", as the synthesized scoring behind ERIMHA's punishing aggression sets a nuance of gory hand-to-hand combat. The opening instrumental "Enlightenment" and a second one "Saunter to Extinction" capture a cinematic sense of bloody anticipation, with the promise of pure mayhem at the fore of ERIMHA's punctuated battle lines.
While ERIMHA are essential students of their dark tutelage, consider them apt pupils. "Reign Through Tomorrow" is nothing you haven't already heard within this extension of arcane metal music, but it is hammered down with undeniable exactitude. The grisly speed of Ksoas' bludgeoning double kicks, rolling toms and grind patterns is seldom called back from ERHIMA's methods of fierce velocity. Guitarists Kthien and Diusternas, along with session bassist Leather King, interpret the winds of chaos with diligence and cadence, even if they get drowned in the mix sometimes behind the drum tracks, the orchestration modes and Gore's venomous wails.
There are only traces of songwriting variation between "Ascetic", "Condemned to Desolation" and "Metaphysic Countenance", while ERIMHA mixes up their primary schemes later on "Verdict of the Soul" and "Cataclysmic Tides". The two-act finale "Metemphychosis" serves as a ten minute closing thesis statement to everything these well-versed understudies have outlined throughout the album. The final section, decorated by dancing synth lines and then soaring clean vocals, are inspired touches. Unfortunately, by this time, only true fans of this stuff will continue to be dialed in, while others may have grown tired of the repetitious rising and falling dirge crescendos that are milked way hard.
The biggest compliment to be paid to ERIMHA is they have their craft down as reputably as you'd want it if you're a fan of this style of metal music. For awhile, "Reign Through Immortality"'s effects are rousing, voluminous and superbly-polished. After the reintroduction of death bells on multiple songs, plus recurring chord progressions and blast beat sequences spread throughout the album, ERIMHA's exhaustive measures leave a wrung-out feeling. Not to downplay what ERIMHA (an admirably skilled band) does, but there's always the pleasurable notion of keeping this album going while Sonja stalks and ultimately beheads Thulsa Doom. It seems like a marriage made in some unholy alter-reality.