Macabre Omen: Gods Of War - At War

Widescreen pagan bluster with a pitch-black heart

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It’s not hard to hear what Macabre Omen are getting at here. Gods Of War – At War may be a cumbersome title, but its contents have been lovingly infused with a strong sense of windswept grandeur and elemental power: black metal redefined as an exploration of endless skies and elusive eternity, rather than a bitter squint into the abyss.

Opener I See The Sea rolls in on a wave of reverb-drenched, quasi-choral vocals before the first stately riff comes crashing down like a Biblical downpour, all underpinned by subtle shades of folk melody.

Similarly, the closing two-part Alexandros (Ode A & Ode B) wields significant emotional might, evoking the lush dynamics of Bathory’s Viking excursions via acoustic interludes and a rush of raw Hellenic hostility.

Some brief bursts of idle freewheeling aside, this is a wild and heroic battle against mortal elements, as the biggest of barbaric ideas are rendered with huge passion and aimed squarely at those who value purity of artistic intent above all else.

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.