ACHERON
"The Final Conflict: Last Days of God"

(Displeased)

01. Intro
02. The Apocalypse
03. Rise Of Rebellion
04. Blood Oath (Pactum Tacitum)
05. I Am Heathen
06. Godless? (We Are Gods!)
07. Salvation Through Hatred
08. Power And Might
09. Millennium's End
10. A New Age
11. Anno Armegeddon

RATING: 8.5/10

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the… Holy shit! ACHERON is back! This can't be good for Christianity. It never is. "The Final Conflict: Last Days of God" comes out in celebration of two decades of ACHERON's Satanic death metal, as led by founder/vocalist/bassist/anti-Christian propagandist, former Church of Satan member, and self-described heathen Vincent Crowley (ex-NOCTURNUS). The message is not veiled in metaphor, "The Final Conflict: Last Days of God" is a title to be taken literally and the album's lyrical themes follow suit. Considering the Cerberus on the front cover to the pictures of church burnings in the booklet to a lyrical concept about the fall of the world's three major "white light" religions (Islam, Christianity, and Judaism), it's a cinch that "The Final Conflict…" won't be released Stateside on Facedown Records.

You get the lyrical gist, I'm sure. Whether you're a right-hand or left-hand path type of person, surely you'll appreciate the musical aspect of "The Final Conflict…" It is 51 minutes of smartly constructed, memorably written, and goddamn beefy old school death/thrash metal. Specifically, it is old-school, groovy death metal that is inclusive of INCANTATION doom/death (hey, Kyle Severn IS the drummer) and ASPHYX crunch crossed with a significant thrash element (like pre-"Reign in Blood" SLAYER). Any black metal references should be considered in the context of the original black metal (VENOM, etc).

Now that we've cleared (muddied?) all that up, what is probably most important for you to know is that "The Final Conflict" is jam-packed with great songs powered by Severn's thunder drumming, fat 'n dirty riffs, and a ballsy sound captured by engineer Bill Korecky (Korecky and the band share production credit). Better yet, the arrangements are beefed up with massively impacting transitions and song-lengths that often fall in the five-to-six-minute range, the upshot being the time allowed to ride a gnarly riff or enjoy a speedy bludgeoning. Crowley's sinister bark is intelligible and really gives the songs personality; he makes it a lot more fun to roar along to the simple, yet earth-shaking, choruses of songs like "The Apocalypse" and "A New Age" (both inclusive of some very SLAYER-like guitar sections), "Godless? (We are Gods!)", and the re-recording of "Blood Oath (Pactum Tacitum)", which features some fantastic instrumental sections. The stop 'n start verse of "I am Heathen" is a real ball-crusher too.

Session musician Ash Thomas (ESTUARY) on rhythm guitar (lead guitar/guttural vocals on "A New Age") and guest musicians Aaron Werner (FURTHER LO) whose keyboard accents are perfectly placed, Bill Korecky (keyboards on "Anno Armageddon"), and Wayne Richards (SOULLESS), who is credited with "dive bomb/wammy attacks," collectively make the album that much better. In addition to the robust songwriting, "The Final Conflict: Last Days of God" has great flow, incredible intensity, and a shit ton of underworld explosiveness. What it doesn't have is filler. Unfortunately, much like previous ACHERON albums, it is destined to be overlooked by far too many folks. You won't find it in Hot Topic, so just order the damn thing from Displeased Records, would ya? Trust me, this is the good shit.

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