19 February 2018

Album Review – Bornless Fire “Arcanum”

So this is affectively a new project from Kristof Bathory of Dawn Of Ashes. This immediately puts me on the back foot as I am not intimately familiar with said band. Perhaps it is also an advantage as it will allow me to assess the album on its own merits to a degree.

Dawn Of Ashes apparently made a shift away from electronic elements towards the metal end of the spectrum, Bornless Fire is a means by which Kristof Bathory has chosen to revisit these elements. A cursory investigation would seem to confirm this as the material on offer here does indeed seem to pick up where DoA circa 2009 were at.

‘Arcanum’ contains ten tracks of atmospheric and epic sounding metal tinged electro industrial plus remixes from Tactical Sekt and Suicide Commando. The selected percussion sounds give a hefty nod to 1990s classic electronic industrial, and while metallic razor sharp onslaughts are present, they are more than counterweighted by the thickly layered symphonic synths and pads. The result is that, while there are EBM elements to be found, ‘Arcanum’ is actually best described as an electronic symphonic metal album, at least in my humble opinion. Vocally, I am sure fans will instantly recognise Kristof’s voice as it retains the starkly cold black metal rasp that is his signature style.

Tracks such as ‘Emerging From The Void’, ‘Feel The Rage’ and ‘Sex Magick’ have higher tempo elements that might appeal to the harsh EBM crowds, Hocico, Suicide Commando and so forth, though much of the album utilises a slower form of battery. Tracks where the straight 4/4 beat is varied are more enjoyable to my ears, such as ‘Leech’ and album highlight ‘Eclipse Of The Soul’.

Reading between the lines, it appears safe to say that the shift that DoA took in a more metal direction was divisive amongst the fans. My assessment would be that the material on offer here takes in elements of the journey that DoA have taken in recent years while re-embracing the synths and beats of old. As such, ‘Arcanum’ may find an audience with DoA fans of all eras. It is a quality sounding album, meaty and densely layered affair, with more than a few moments of flair. I think by reading these words you probably have a good idea as to whether you’d enjoy this album. Simply put, if harder EBM, symphonic synths, harsh black metal tinged vocals and a thoroughly metallic edge,  are things that tick boxes for you then Bornless Fire may well be worth investigating.