The term metal-core is a little ugly; loathsome in fact, almost alienating in its depiction of pure heaviosity with little in the way of escape from relentless skull crushing metal. Certainly the three albums to preceed this release wore their hearts on their sweat soaked sleeves, with 11’s hugely successful ‘There Is A Hell…’ leading the way through a minefield of analogous releases. We’d barely got past the opening track before we were covering our bleeding ears and scampering for the stop button. Maybe we’re getting on a bit, but our reaction to the news Sempiternal was to be released April 1st was greeted with sighs of err…no thanks.
But having wrapped our ears around the epic and technically astute opening cut, we’re more than surprised and pleased to say that this crew from the Steel City are more than spreading their wings here. Where Oli Sykes’ raison d’etre had previously been to tear his vocal chords to shreds, a lot of Sempiternal sees him actually singing close to the lines drawn by Chester Bennington’s inimitable howl; albeit with a darker graveling edge. The guitars and high flying synth waste no time in pummelling our speakers and you immediately realise that this is how they should’ve sounded all along.
Producer Terry Date has done them proud, contributing a fuller, rounder sound, even embellishing it on isolated occassions with epic orchestration and keyboards; eliminating the repetition that can creep into music as extreme as this. ‘The House Of Wolves’ and ‘Sleepwalking’ effectively mould together a bloodied switchblade riff with the bands characteristic terrace style backing vocals. The Punishing first single ‘Shadow Moses’ cranking things up to a full on stadium roar, aside a killer hook delivered at break neck speed.
There’s nothing frivolous about Sempiternal, its the product of some serious minds and after the self-examination of ‘And The Snakes Start To Sing’, ‘Seen It All Before’ is a dignified and highly orchestrated mood piece that leads into more blistering guitar and drums that maraude in strength and liability. With BMTH you know what you get and you gets precisely what you pay for here, because despite its clear side-step Sempiternal is still about as harsh and uncompromising as it gets; in a great way. (8)