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IMMORTAL SETH is a one-man black metal band from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
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IMMORTAL SETH Darkness Fate album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Darkness Fate
Atmospheric Black Metal 2012


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Album · 2012 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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siLLy puPPy
While heavy metal’s most misbehaved offspring is well known in Western nations for its extreme blasphemy and anti-Christian stance, black metal is a more recent phenomenon in Islamic nations where in the most extreme cases can actually result in the death penalty when the theological gatekeepers deem certain content to be, well, blasphemous. No other nation is as conservative in this manner as Saudi Arabia, home of Mecca where Muslims make peregrinations to the epicenter of holiness. Until the internet age came along, Saudi Arabia was pretty much a completely closed off nation with only trickles of outsiders venturing in and more often than not watching their every move lest they rile the holy ire of the theological tyranny.

Times have changed even if the clergy firmly remain ossified in a theological stupor and since the age of the internet, what can’t physically penetrate the borders of the world’s strictest of Islamic republics, can certainly trickle in through cyberspace. Once reserved as an anti-Christian miscreancy with church burnings and sonically explosive live rants in concert, black metal has slowly but surely made it into these last bastions of religious dominance of the planet. With only about 12 acts that don the black metal tag from with the borders of Saudi Arabia, most of these acts remain anonymous in fear of their very lives as they berate the Islam traditions in the same manners as Norwegian angsty youths ruthlessly attacked anything remotely Christian.

One such act residing in Saudi Arabia’s capital city of Riyadh is the one-man band called IMMORTAL SETH. Having no resources much less record labels to host such frightful prospects that threaten the status quo, IMMORTAL SETH has found refuge not only through the internet but also with the Ukrainian label Depressive Illusions Records where this act’s first and so far only album DARKNESS FATE has been released in 2012. And even though this is technically an independent full album release, it just barely extends past the 28 minute mark so in many ways, this black metal act has been quite conservative itself in releasing music at least under this moniker. IMMORTAL SETH, despite its exotic location in the desert nation of roughly 32 million inhabitants, doesn’t care to blend too much of its local flavors in its pungent and caustic worship of European black metal acts but it does let them out on occasion.

IMMORTAL SETH lies somewhere between the purity of Darkthrone second wave black metal and some of the more modern atmospheric acts that offer a bit of keyboard glazed ambient backdrops to soften the orotund buzzsaw guitar attacks and blastbeat frenzies that pretty much evoke the quintessential black metal worship. DARKNESS FATE is roughly divided into three styles of sound. First there is the purely dark ambient segments which includes the entire opening track “Calling The Unknown” which seem to borrow from Western classical music traditions and translate them to dungeon-esque synth runs but in the process end up sounding a little cheesy. This also includes the track “Darkness Fate” as well as the throwaway bonus tracks at the end. There are also moments when the synth add-ons emerge within tracks.

For the most part, DARKNESS FATE is a rather by-the-books orthodoxy of black metal bombast right out of the second wave playbook. Raspy vocals, tremolo guitar picking, tritone blasphemy and percussive gusto to match, the unremarkably un-Middle Eastern stylistic approach comes across as any old angsty youth blowing off steam with his new recording equipment in the hopes of creating the next big thing in the underground world. The exception where IMMORTAL SETH actually allows his homegrown roots to shine is on the short middle track “Reborn” which delivers dark ambient in bellydance style and the other track “Dead End.” With Middle Eastern percussive rhythms and those instantly addictive musical scales, the caustic black metal quickly becomes a lo-fi worshipping session for what sounds like the Secret Chiefs 3 however metal and ethnic flavors remain segregated not allowed to play. Having gotten all that ambient mellowness out of his system, “The Rising” returns with the most angry explosive vocal attacks with guitars to match only its bogged down by the cheesy keyboards which sound cheap and in the long run ruin the overall feel for this album. The second Middle Eastern short track is delivered int he appropriately named “Dead End” which offers some acoustic guitar and leads into “Arabian Night” but the cheesy keyboards ruin the overall presentation. Add to that the ethnic folk parts are just really weak and don’t even begin to deliver the vitality that true Arabic music presents.

IMMORTAL SETH is more notable for its geographical environmental conditions than for the music itself. Ultimately there’s really nothing on DARKNESS FATE that hasn’t been done to death at this point and even though generic albums can be forgiven if done properly, the elements are misplaced leaving an unsatisfying feeling in the end. The ambient sections are too long and don’t gel well with the heavier metal. The album just comes off as lopsided and the Middle Eastern intermissions seem ridiculously out of place. What i really would’ve hoped to hear with on an album like this is a true mixing of ethnic influences with the black metal. Perhaps IMMORTAL SETH is busy in some undisclosed Riyadh dwelling crafting his true musical visions but for the most part, this just sounds like a warm up for something that never comes.

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