What a band should want to do, whatever genre they represent, is provide a twist on the norms. It’s not enough to be a traditional black metal band, coming off as a Mayhem clone or a Burzum ripoff. That’s why when a record like Misanthropic Rage’s Gates No Longer Shut comes along, it’s worth giving notice to.
The duo has the frosty underbelly black metal from Poland is known for, yet aren’t satisfied with just being fast and noisy. That is a part of their sound, but is counteracted with progressive turmoil fitted for a band named Misanthropic Rage.
Much of this originates in the multifaceted vocals, which lean as much on nasty screams as they do on authoritative croons. Whatever style is employed, it’s done with expert finesse.
Gates No Longer Shut is quite nonlinear in its songwriting, with no distinct verse/chorus structure or any kind of rigid structuring in place. The songs seem to unfold in an impromptu fashion, riffs unspooling from the hands of musicians in the midst of a creative uprising in the recording studio. A splintered jaggedness is prevalent in the music, angular melodies sharply cutting across to add a dim glow to the seedy mood spread throughout these seven songs.
An acoustic romp in the middle of “Into The Crypt” is one of several unexpected moves on the album. That includes the haunting spoken word tangent on “Niehodowlany,” which features several passages sung in Polish. The Polish language is utilized in several tracks, though mixed with English within the same song.
Misanthropic Rage has got a refined product on their hands with Gates No Longer Shut. This is the kind of crafty black metal that helps to push the genre ahead, while keeping its sights on the past. There will be purists that won’t want anything to do with it, but they’ll be missing out on a smart, unpredictable record.
(released November 18, 2016 on Godz Ov War Productions)