Anyone familiar with black metal will instantly recognize the sound on The Path of Suffering by Elgibbor. For those not so familiar, this style/genre is often very dark and bleak, often conveying a sense of starkness and cold while at the same time impressing on the listener a sense of war and conflict. All of those elements are here in The Path of Suffering.
From the Metal Helm website (metalhelm.com), The Path of Suffering was born largely out of struggles and trials the band members were going through during the recording process, and yet, while tested, they were able to focus their reliance on God and faith to overcome the trials. Although it is typically somewhat difficult to understand the shrill black metal shrieking, the basis for many of the lyrics are straight out of Holy Scripture, including passages from Psalms, 1 Chronicles, Jeremiah, and Revelation. Those unfamiliar with Elgibbor may be surprised to know that there are around 14 other full-length albums by the band since 2004 and a number of other splits and eps. The band is largely the project of Fire, a one-time Satanist who turned to Christianity and the one who handles all vocals and instruments. For this album, Fire brought on Armath Sargon to handle keyboards and Thundermorr for drums.
As many black metal albums do, The Path of Suffering opens up with some atmospheric elements to provide some context and setting. Acoustic guitar and crashing water lull the listener into a false sense of security as the song explodes into black metal after a heavy cymbal crash around the 1:30 mark. Somewhat surprisingly, there is a more melodic feel to this song than I expected and there are a notable lack of blast beats in the track. Unfortunately, for my ears though, there seems to be a relative lack of bass in the track which really detracts from the power of the track but does certainly add to the shrillness in the vocals. Throughout the album, I found myself wanting more bass, more clarity to the instruments as they are mostly present in a wall of sound type scenario where it is difficult to pick out any particular instrument. I feel drums are especially important in this genre and add some great elements to the songs, but again, on this album they are mixed into the wall of sound. This may be somewhat intentional , but certainly takes away from my enjoyment of the album. With this approach, I found myself having to really concentrate to identify what was really going on and that is a bit of shame as there are some great parts musically that may be missed. To provide some context for these comments on the sound, I listened to a couple other black metal albums I like, Vials of Suffering – Seeking Refuge which I also reviewed and Tophet by Frost Like Ashes and found both of those to be more along the lines of my preferences listed above.
“Conqueror of the Nations” opens up with some bass and cello-sounding strings being played until the blast beat drums and guitars take over. This song inspired a great visual in my head of a church setting with band playing in the background and the vocalist at the podium/lectern in full corpse paint and costume railing at the congregation. Vocals seem to be a bit more to the forefront in this song and do remind me of a fire and brimstone kind of preacher in approach although I’m pretty sure no one has seen such a preacher in full corpse paint before.
Throughout the album, there is a good variety in the approaches taken to the songs. In terms of identifying elements, all have the black metal shrieking vocals, but there are some that carry a sense of melody, and some that are straight ahead black metal driven by blast beats. There does seem to be some variance in the mixing and production as well, but all tend to stay toward the wall of sound where all the instruments blend together. “You Are Never Alone” has an increased reliance on the keyboards and carries with it an relative bright and airy feeling (for black metal, that is) that surprised me a bit. The song starts out with a cool bass line where keyboards are dominant overall, but then part way through there is a transition to guitars carrying the song.
For me, my favorite track is “Reassures”, which also features some of the best mixing/production on the album, or more specifically, a sound that I like better. Bear in mind, this is my subjective opinion of what type of sound I like. The song starts out with a cool drum rhythm and some clean guitars before launching into the rest, which is one of the melodic style black metal songs.
Metal Helm describes this as
01. Embrace Life [Or Death]
02. Conqueror Of The Nations
03. Free And True
04. You Are Never Alone
05. Blessed Are You, O LORD
06. Psalm 140
07. Your Light In MY Darkest Time
08. Wyciagnieta Reka
11. Outro Revelation
Fire – Vocals, bass guitar, lead, rhythm guitars
Armath Sargon – Keyboard
Thundermoor – Drums
Record Label: Shigionoth Records , Jan. 2014
Apolutrosis [Full-length] 2004
Halal [Full-length] 2005
Halal – Where Death is Your Victory [Split] 2006
The Inextinguishable Blaze [EP] 2006
Satan is Defeated [Full-length] 2007
Stronger Than Hell [Full-length] 2007
Fireland [Full-length] 2008
Repent or Perish [Full-length] 2008
Jubileum Vol. 1 [Compilation] 2009
Jubileum Vol. 2 [Compilation] 2009
War [Full-length] 2009
Soterion Apollumi Hamartia [Full-length] 2010
The Imminent Invasion [Full-length] 2011
Slava Bogu !!! [Split] 2011
Video below “The Path of Suffering” full album preview
Video below ‘Conqueror of the Nations’ [full song]