Sound — 9
Knowing that Joe Axler is a great drummer, tearing it up on sludge and grind releases from both Splatterhouse and Iamthethorne, I decided to check out his new band "Book Of Black Earth. Being a guy who prides himself on knowledge of the sludge genre, I obviously know that the paradigms of American music can sometimes cross over to multiple genres (think Rwake and their pseudo-black edge). This album is no exception, with a very tasteful blend of some Belphegor/Vesania style black/death metal with some hard-as-hell industrious and symphonic overtones. On that note, do not be fooled when I say 'Symphonic' as this album is truly anything but, yet the keyboards have succeeded on 'The Feast', whereas in albums like Vesania's "Distractive Killusions", they just came off as grandeur attempts at something guileful and dark. The band is nothing short of heavy, with pounding bombastic drumming, riffs that are cordial to both black metal and death metal fans alike, as well as vocals that would have Ross Dolan rethinking the way he's doing it. You can hear the mixture of the melodic bands from Europe as well as the sheer heaviness of the American scene, and how they influence this album. The mixing and quality of this album is nothing short of spectacular either, with a sound and layered atmosphere to it, you'd expect from the most seasoned and popular of metal bands.
Lyrics — 8
The overall lyrical content of this album is nothing truly 'AMAZING' but you cannot expect anything amazingly original now a days anything. I mean common, it's black/death, once you've heard one song touching on ire beliefs and disdain towards religion/society, you've heard them all. Although these touch more on a modern/syndicated world, and those problems faced with such (the evil of man, etc), while still keeping to the ever-prevailent songs about death, mayhem. That said, I don't listen to this album in order to hear new and innovative lyrics, that move me in ways that others can't.
Overall Impression — 9
This album is truly something fresh in the world of american black/death metal (a local genre which I didn't even think existed until now) sure you can listen to you Agalloch and Absus, your Suffocations and Incantations, but this album seems to give the best of both worlds, in a blend that incorporates the raw energy of your german black metal, with the intense mind-pounding sounds of the heaviest of american death metal. I need to give them kudos on allowing me to see that even americans are capable of making music that I thought was best left to our european neighbors. TJ Cowgill definitly knows how to make an album worth remembering, and I hope to hear more from this band in the future.