Label: Eternal Death
Whilst Asleep In The Arms Of Suicide might sound like a typical DSBM album title, those who have encountered Bog Of The Infidel before will know that’s not what to expect. The New England veterans play a brand of black metal that is full of both fury and melody, mixing together the more primitive nature of black metal along with its loftier elements that reach towards the night skies. The follow-up to their excellent To Corrupt Your Sons And Lust After Your Daughters EP, Asleep In The Arms Of Suicide sees the band raise their game, applying a level of rawness and desperation that is striking, giving the album a hard edge that many other black metal bands who embrace melody so wholly lack.
The chief comparison at play here is Dissection (specifically, pre-prison Dissection). They’re a band whose music I never took to fully – whilst Storm Of The Light’s Bane was key to my introduction to black metal beyond Cradle Of Filth, The Somberlain left me cold (and not in a good way). Given this, black metal of the kind Bog Of The Infidel play isn’t a sort I often find engaging, but that’s not an issue here. There is plenty of muscle and violence wedded to their more melodic sections, ensuring that this stays firmly on the extreme side. The songs are fairly concise (with the exception of closer “Black Awakening/Nepenthe” and “Eden”), full of energy and rage, propelled along with furious drumming and whirlwind guitars. The vocals of Satanist are a delightfully primitive bellow, challenging all who would disagree with their blasphemies. There are even moments when surprisingly deft bass-lines can be made out beneath all the fury, which helps give the songs an extra sense of weight often lacking in black metal this raw. On the other side of the coin, well placed acoustic interludes help to create contrast, and serve to emphasise just how vicious the black metal on display here is.
Even if the above serves as a description of the sound and emotions that comprise Asleep In The Arms Of Suicide, it does not touch upon the atmosphere the album conjures, which is its true strength. This is an album that taps in to the cold heart that makes black metal a genre that inspires such devotion in its devotees, full of dark majesty and power. In that sense, comparisons to Storm Of The Light’s Bane are entirely warranted. Much like that album did to my youthful self, Asleep In The Arms Of Suicide has the effect of taking the listener away, transporting them to some clearing deep in woods that are marked on no map, atop mountains untouched by starlight, to show glimpses of truths and terrors that were never meant to be part of this world. Whilst not ritualistic in the way it is commonly understand in black metal music (there are no long, droning, repetitive passages here that pull you in to a trance – or put you to sleep), there is still something of worship and homage about Asleep In The Arms Of Suicide, whether it be to Satan, self-destruction, or lost friends (as on “Unraveling The Bracelets Of Fortune”, which has some superb lyrics).
I don’t want to give the wrong impression about Asleep In The Arms Of Suicide, or Bog Of The Infidel in general. Whilst Dissection are a clear comparison, Bog Of The Infidel have their own clear sense of character and identity, and could never be described as being in the shadows of more widely-known bands. As is true for many of the records released by Eternal Death, Asleep In The Arms Of Suicide is deserving of far more recognition and respect than it is likely to receive. This is another superb release by the label, showcasing a band who have the talent, conviction, and passion to achieve great things. This is not one to sleep on.