When doing background research for the review of the Olio Tähtien Takana album ‘Spectral Katharsis’ I stumbled upon the band Embryonic Slumber. Like Olio Tähtien Takana, Embryonic Slumber consists of the band members V-KhaoZ (Vargrav, Druadan Forest) and Hellwind Inferion (Sargeist, Desolate Shrine). Fascinated by two Black Metal bands with the exact same lineup I delved into the first and only Embryonic Slumber release, their 2021 debut album ‘In Worship Our Blood Is Buried’.
While the band members of Olio Tähtien Takana and Embryonic Slumber may be the same, the music isn’t. Sure, the style of both bands is cosmic Black Metal, but where Olio Tähtien Takana plays symphonic Black Metal with plenty of pace and melody, Embryonic Slumber is almost strictly operating at slow to mid pace, with a strong emphasis on building tension of the song as it unfolds. The material on ‘In Worship Our Blood Is Buried’ is much more minimalistic and ritualistic. A common thread that guides this story are spoken passages that indicate the performance of rituals that revolve around Asmodeus, a prince of demons and hell. Embryonic Slumber takes their time introducing new elements to the ceremony, and consequently the three tracks (excluding the intro, the interlude ‘Seven Streams of Sidonay’ and the closing track ‘I Am the Storm’) are all around ten minutes in length. The keyboards are fairly subdued, empowering the guitar riffs and changes in drum rhythms in order to build the tension slowly. On top of that is yet another stellar vocal performance by Hellwind Inferion, who impressively pulls of tortured screams that last nearly twenty seconds in for instance ‘Mortify Your Servant’. The result is a ritualistic and sinister Black Metal album that guides the listener through the proceeding ceremony. ‘An Oath of Devotion’ captures this splendidly, where the spoken text changes slightly every time when part of the oath progresses and the album creeps towards its darkest point. For that reason, the subsequent closing track ‘I am the Storm’ can be perceived as an anticlimax as it breaks the pace and style of the album with a track that consists almost entirely of electronic beats, keyboards and distorted screams. I’m sure it’s part of the bigger picture, but it surely is an odd way to end the album.
This is clearly the type of record that needs to be heard as a whole, as every element, including the intro and interlude, lead to the next part of the ritual. Consequently, this is an album that requires patience, and I can imagine that for some it will be too much to sit through for instance a three-minute intro and the first few minutes of the opening track before things really seem to lead somewhere. For those willing to share that bit of their patience with Embryonic Slumber, ‘In Worship Our Blood Is Buried’ is a ritualistic cosmic Black Metal record worth hearing. (VincentP)