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Pestilential Warfare of the Black Flame

Review by Matt Hoffman

This is my first review for Gone for Smokes, and I’m already having an insanely good time terrifying
Craig with my idiosyncratic approach to deadlines.

Sorry Craig.

Part of my mission here will be to talk about music I really love, but I hope Craig throws me a few
curveballs so I can say some out-the-gate shit about art produced by people we all know and drum
up some web traffic. Send me some slam to review Craig, it’s my least favourite genre. I guarantee
we can drive up the clicks if I write a scathing review of ‘Disembowelled Tribulation’ or whatever the
fuck passes for a band name in those circles. That’s my pitch, Craig. Hate-clicks.

On to a band with a cool name: Methchrist.

Methchrist are a bestial black metal/war metal band from Ōtepoti/Dunedin. Greatest City on Earth,
don’t @ me. In 2018 they released their first EP entitled ‘Nomadic War Machine’, containing some of
the most profane and unsavoury music ever committed to tape. They since released a split EP with
Perth’s SELF HARM in 2018, and a demo collection in 2021. Now Methchrist return with their first
full-length album, titled ‘Pestilential Warfare of the Black Flame’.

When you have a band of completely deranged players like Methchrist, you know something special,
and alienating, and though-provoking is about to happen to you. How ugly and blasphemous can
music get? This.

A few brief words about the production. It is clearer and has a greater sense of scale than previous
outings, but this band hasn’t gone mersh. If anything, the relative clarity in the production just
reveals how truly hostile their approach to metal is. The drums sound like they were recorded in
some Austrian guy’s murder bunker. The guitars are frankly disgusting to listen to, and the interplay
between OT (vocals and guitar) and new second guitarist SF (Ayamvoid, Mistchaser, Súl ad Astral) is
a complex, bloody knife fight. The bass tone is cretinous and violent. These fuckers haven’t cleaned
up at all, they’ve just decided to brandish their rusty screwdriver directly in your face.
The album opens with a squall of guitar feedback, digital, pulsing noise, and the din of war. The noise
gives way slowly to primordial, but agile, drumming, pick scrapes, and gnarly black metal riffing.
Ollie’s guttural, screeching vocals come in and the fucking hellmouth opens. Congratulations, you’re
now on a blasphemous meth binge for the next 30 minutes or so as Methchrist unhinge their jaw
and swallow the world whole. Album opener ‘Anthropic Dysecdesis’ is an attack on the senses where
concepts like delicacy and joy are utterly annihilated.


Second track ‘Attrition Rituals’ opens at full speed and only gets crazier as the track’s structure
barely holds itself together, progressing through some intense black metal riffs and a middle section
with some truly bonkers tempos shifts before a final section that sounds like a truck full of wasps
hitting a brick wall at 120 kilometres per hour.

‘Vermin Shrines’ starts us off a little slower, with a seasick chorus riff, an incredible mid-section with
the weird chords that are my favourite aspect of black metal, before ending with a thrashy, staccato

‘Hate Commands’ picks up the pace again. Drummer DB is a fucking weapon here, switching from
blast beats to groovier sections and then fucking COMBINING the two approaches about halfway
through the track. Once again the interplay between OT and SF come into play, their guitar lines
bludgeoning each other before begrudgingly deciding to cooperate on their vile task.

‘Swine March’ opens with belching, squelching noises and the sound of pigs being slaughtered
before erupting in to the most pummelling track on the album yet. Bassist BC’s immoral bass tone
really shines on this one, sounding like someone playing a distorted suspension bridge. A hideous
sound that shines through more and more as the track progresses. The track moves to a lumbering
riff, before disappearing into a whirlpool of the most black metal riffing you’ll ever hear.
Methchrist’s ability to turn what is essentially sensory overload into something dynamic and
thoughtfully composed is amazing to me.

‘Miasmic Messiah’ is another breakneck track, somehow even more violent than ‘Swine March’. The
band are really picking things up, getter more unhinged as the album progresses. The riffs are
absolutely molten, before collapsing into an almost spacious section. Insane guitar interplay in this
section, goddamn. The ante is upped again as Methchrist get faster, uglier, and more violent,
screaming their way to the track’s hateful conclusion.

‘Baptismal Putrefaction’, the final track on the album is a death/black metal hybrid that feels like it
starts halfway through the song. This creature grabs on and mauls like a pitbull on a toddler. For six
solid minutes. No one gets away unscathed. We also hear the inclusion of death growls, a new
element I am irresponsibly attributing to SF. The track enters a mournful bass section before pulling
us into another freefall of throttling, breakneck riffs. Then we are treated to a sucking maelstrom of
a massive slow riff and a descent into whichever circle of hell is the worst one. Then, silence.
That’s it, listeners. Pestilential Warfare of the Black Flame. It’s a ride, man. Probably one of the most
repugnant things you’ll hear all year. And it fucking rules. Give them your money.

4.5 meths out of 5 christs

Pestilential Warfare of the Black Flame can be ordered on vinyl HERE

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