Black metal is, on the whole, a genre of grand statements. Canadian four-piece Kafirun certainly fall in to that tradition. With a name that roughly translates as “unbelievers”, and song titles such as “Chaos Magnum Opus” and “Destruction Of The Divine Self”, Kafirun are certainly not afraid to present themselves in bold, grand terms. And thankfully, the music on Glorification Of Holy Death ensures that these are no empty, hollow claims, but are backed up by orthodox black metal that is vicious, hypnotic, and slightly melancholy in its violence.
Opener “Wings Of Malevolence” may begin gently enough, with the guitars and drums being fairly light and spacious, but those feelings are soon pushed aside by a wave of vicious drumming, and icy riffs that contain more than a hint of sorrow in their power dark melodies. It does not race ahead at speed, but proceeds along at more of a majestic mid-pace, with vocals that move between traditional extreme metal shouts and haunting, dramatic chants and drones. It hits all the right notes for orthodox black metal, simultaneously primitive and transcendent.
Those feelings carry on throughout the EP, with “Salvation Through Sin” possessing more raw power musically but sacrificing none of the (anti)religious feeling. This is even more apparent when the song slows down for its mid-section, coming across as more of an invocation or sermon than a song. “Destruction Of The Divine Self” bristles with as much other-worldly malevolence as you would hope for from a song with such a title, and features some very stirring chord progressions around the two minute mark, which combine excellently with the more dramatic vocals and relentless drums.
The aforementioned “Chaos Magnum Opus” begins in a manner that certainly lives up to its name, full of blistering drums and razor-sharp, restless riffs, and the intensity does not relent. Paradoxically, it all feels tightly controlled – more a ritual or offering to chaos than the end result – yet it is no less effective for that. Closer “Open Veins” is more drawn-out, and is suitably brooding and bleak for such a song title. The riffs possess more than a touch of sorrow to them, and that – along with the melody – makes for a captivating listen that draws the listener in, right up until the final sad, slow moments.
And really, those are the chief impressions of this EP – sorrow, and the feeling that Glorification Of Holy Death will draw you in to its embrace, beginning for repeated listens. There’s some excellent playing on display here – especially on the bass, which is often neglected in black metal – and the EP feels much longer than its 21 minutes running time. It stays true to the orthodox style without ever feeling tired or derivative, and is clearly the work of a band with the talent to put across their ideas. And those ideas are so very, very dark.
Glorification Of Holy Death can be streamed and downloaded via Bandcamp.