It is one of the great tragedies of modern heavy music that Finland’s death rock mystics Babylon Whores never received adequate recognition for their sublime contribution to the evolution of shadowy bombast.
But hope springs eternal, and vocalist Ike Vil’s new band look likely to reawaken interest in his pioneering alma mater, without whom there would almost certainly be no HIM, not to mention countless other worthy, morbid curiosities. Pleasingly, Produces Reason bears the Whores’ aesthetic imprint throughout, with only a smattering of sonic enhancements setting these songs apart from their grotesque forebears. In simpler terms, this is a wildly charismatic carnival of muscular gothic rock, Ike’s powerhouse baritone dominating proceedings with great authority as dark melodies twinkle menacingly in the foreground. If anyone else were to declare themselves to be “bold as brass” and “deft as death”, as Ike does in thunderous opener Nihil Nihil Nihil, it could easily come across as empty bravado, but these haunting anti-hymns pulsate around a core of authentic grimness and despondency that makes even Magick Without Tears’ opening gambit of ‘All life is pain… champagne and cocaine’ resonate with truth and terror. Forget the empty-headed, Kohl-eyed pretenders: these monsters are as real as the dark is undying.