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Front Beast – Passage To The Centuries Of Old [EP]

front beast – passage to the centuries of old [ep]


Anyone who has been following the underground Black Metal scene in the last quarter of a century must at least once have stumbled upon Germany’s Front Beast, one of the many musical endeavours of Daniel “Avenger” Cichos (also in Nocturnal, Szarlem, Angel Of Damnation and a good number more). After its inception in 1999, Front Beast has a long history in releasing split 7” EP’s and while that might not be the most original idea, as bands like Nunslaughter, Sabbat, Agathocles, Unholy Grave and Abigail are doing the same thing, I always thought that the bands Avenger chose to share some vinyl with were somewhat unusual and therefore more than interesting. Take the splits with Agathocles and Bilskirnir for instance, these two bands couldn’t be further apart from each other. The last of these split 7” EP’s was released by the German Narbentage Produktionen label, which is also the chosen label for the release of the first Front Beast stand alone 7” EP after 2011’s ‘Untold Occult Mysteries” 7” EP.

Where the music of Front Beast over time transformed from a more Burzum-esque sound (like on the bands ‘Black Spells Of The Damned’ debut album, (2006)), the direction of the band’s musical identity shifted more and more to something that resembled Avenger’s love for Heavy Metal. Of course, since the mid 00’s he has Scalare to indulge his penchant for Heavy Metal, but that hasn’t stopped him from giving it its resonance in Front Beast. So, also with ‘Passage To The Centuries Of Old’ we are being served with a blend of Black Metal and Heavy Metal, which is also underscored by the Twisted Sister cover on the B-side of the vinyl.

First up though is a new track, the first one since the band’s split 7” EP with one of Germany’s greatest Raw Black Metal acts, Grausamkeit. With a clocking time of seven minutes and a half, it is a rather long track for a 7” EP, but mostly it is probably Front Beast’s least Black Metal sounding track. There is a lot of Epic, even doomy, Heavy Metal in here, mainly evident in the melodies and guitar leads. Yet, the drums and the harsh barking vocals (something that is far removed from the Black Metal cries from Front Beast’s early days) still gives the song a rough edge. Over the past, let’s say, ten years the band already increasingly moved up to these musical territories, but with this new track I think Avenger struck the right balance between both genres. And, not in the least place, it doesn’t really sound like any other band in these musical regions – it does not sound like the later works of bands like Desaster or Deströyer 666 for instance.

Covering Twisted Sister’s ‘Burn In Hell’ settles Front Beast next to Dimmu Borgir and Sabaton, but it may speak for itself that Front Beast takes a slightly less polished approach. Avenger’s screaming vocals do give this cover its own distinctive twist, it is only from the chorus onwards that it is abundantly clear this is a cover. Perhaps it doesn’t add a whole lot, but it’s a nice extra and it clearly shows Front Beast’s musical direction anno 2024.

Front Beast

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