I’ll come clean now: I was never a particular fan of older PN stuff. It always struck me as ‘spooky kids’ trying to be evil and scary, and instead looking all a bit silly. So it’s something of a surprise to hear this. It is the sound of a band transformed, into a world where everything is in shades of black, and an eerie malevolence exudes from every track.
And it all starts will the intro, Bellum In Abyssus, a slowly building roar of static and screams, that is wholly unexpected on an album such as this. It feeds well into the apocalyptic intro of choral samples and softly-softly beats of Parasitic, before all hell breaks loose when the main synth line arrives. It takes yet another step up for a storming chorus, too.
One thing I should mention at this point are the vocals. You will either love or hate them – something of a cross between Erk from Hocico and Dani from Cradle of Filth, and to be frank work better on some tracks better than others, but in terms of fitting the pitch-black mood of the album, it certainly doesn’t jar.
Things drop away to to almost total silence for the beginning of Better Than Suicide, before again ripping through the speakers for a stomping dancefloor track. Anaesthetic (For The Pathetic) has some very strong synth work again, but seems to be to be a little too close to Hocico for comfort. The Room is a rather creepy interlude, industrial clunking almost suffocating a twinkling music box in the background, which segues well into Flesh Harvest – nothing ideas-wise that hasn’t already been heard on here so far, but it is perhaps the best merging of the disparate influences attempted.
And here is where things take an unexpected turn. A short two-second sample, and a black-metal blastbeat rips out of the speakers and we are straight into Scar of the Deceiver – and for a predominantly industrial-based band, it sounds a completely natural progression and works really rather well. Following that, it is a string sample, some cut-up samples, and we are kept in black metal territory with the title track, and again it works well. Visceral Holocaust brings the BPM rate down a bit, heading back into industrial-electro territory, but it seems to have about three different ideas for tracks that all get started and never really go anywhere – and a similar problem affects Proficiscor Of Terminus Vicis, which seems to have been designed as some form of interlude but goes on for way too long.
Closing track The Purging (A Revelation of Pain) sees them back on the formula that served them well earlier in the album, and again it works to great effect, although quite why there is an additional seven minutes beyond the track with precious little audible is beyond me.
This album is a brave move by the band. By openly embracing other genres besides their electro “home” they are giving themselves the chance to gain a whole host of new fans, and there is certainly the quality here to allow that to happen. Crossover or not, though – this is a solid album showing just how much this band have progressed.