Most Irish bands have a habit of turning heads with their most recent releases. Scáth na Déithe (Irish for ‘Shadow of Gods’) emerge as a two-piece black metal band that are the audio equivilant to a rapture of supernatural mythical creatures plunging face first into your chest.
“Pledge for Nothing” is full of crushing blast beats that share the runtime with some doom and atmopsheric riffs. While a black metal album, there are certainly some death metal vibes to this, but it’s theme that is loosely based of horror-folklore take any colour out of the music and replace it with black and dirt (in the best way possible).
After the brief intro, the album opens with “Bloodless”, a track that pulls the soul out of the listener with a half paced intro and tremelo picking, before a bried break into a blast beat verse. The vocals from Cathal Hughes (as well as guitar and bass playing) are nothing short of brutal and impending. A macabre ridden track with some great dynamics and bursts. I especially like the basslines as they don’t necessarily follow the guitar parts and have their own crushing tone. (throughout the album)
Third track “This Unrecognized Disease” is similar in a way that it recognises what it does best, providing a solid blast beat riff that isn’t too hard on the listener. Everything merges well and cements itself into the atmospheric which it aims to create. From what I gather by the lyrics this song deals with isolation and the failure to recognize a cure and the fear as to what may come if this continues.
An acoustic ambient interlude brings us to “The Shackled Mind” which is an explosive track, despite the unecessary dragging of some riffs, but it still holds true to it’s aims of giving a feeling of no hope, as does the final track “Search Unending”, a much more dramatic and depressing track, however it also drags itself past the halfway mark. Despite these minor details, the album certainly completes its mission and presents a doomful atmosphere in the form of agressive raging black metal, similar to that of current Behemoth perhaps.
While the band could have played to their strengths a bit more or got a bit more creative with the final moments of the album, as a whole piece it does not overstay it’s welcome, with the right amount of tracks. The first half of the album certainly has a high replay ability, and gives us a great vision as to what is to come with this project. A continuation of Irish mythical themes and depressing lyrics of isolation, as well the great tremelo riffs and use of instrumentation gives us hope for another great release hopefully in the near future.
Verdict: A more than promising release that may take more than one listen, but the highlighted tracks have a high replay ability. Listen to it before it comes for your soul. 80%.
Highlights: “Bloodless”, “The Shackled Mind”
You might also like: Behemoth (later), The Ruins of Beverst, Altar of Plagues