Tenements (of the Anointed Flesh), the fourth full-length effort from UK experimental black metal act The Axis of Perdition, is not an easy album to dive into. The long and dissonant compositions, combined with torturous vocals and a noisy, lo-fi production can make for a difficult first few listens - not to mention the hour-long running time that is far too long for its own good. Despite the album's intentional inaccessibility, Tenements (of the Anointed Flesh) doesn't get much better with repeated spins. As a matter of fact, I felt that my enjoyment decreased even further with each new listen. Fans of The Axis of Perdition may want to check this out, but you can certainly find better black metal releases this year than this.
The music here is experimental black metal with industrial and ambient influences. The Axis of Perdition have a reputation for creating extremely frightening and dark music, and even if Tenements (of the Anointed Flesh) isn't the scariest thing they've ever done, this still isn't an album for those who enjoy the more melodic and commercial forms of black metal. Despite the band's interesting approach to black metal, Tenements (of the Anointed Flesh) isn't a very impressive effort in the end. The weak production, combined with the sterile instrumentation and uneven arrangements, makes for an album with tons of potential, yet not enough of it is lived up to the fullest. "Ordained" is the only excellent track here, with its epic and melodic black metal feel making it the album's unquestionable highlight. I also enjoy more ambient-oriented songs like "Awakenings" - the horror-filled ending to this track is especially noteworthy. Other than that, Tenements (of the Anointed Flesh) is a fairly unremarkable effort. Not much on this album hasn't done better before, and the whole thing feels a bit dull and uninspired. It's a shame, because there really are some excellent moments on this album - if the entire thing were as great as "Ordained", my opinion of the album would be vastly improved. Instead, Tenements (of the Anointed Flesh) lacks enough truly horrifying moments or memorable sections to make it stand out from most modern black metal albums.
I wasn't very impressed by Tenements (of the Anointed Flesh), and I think that there are certainly better experimental black metal releases out there than this one. Though the album has potential, the sterile atmosphere and messy production ruin most of its assets. Fans of The Axis of Perdition will want to give this a shot, but beware that there's only one excellent song on the whole album - and that cannot be ignored. Tenements (of the Anointed Flesh) is far too long for its own good, and lacks enough quality material to justify anywhere near an hour-long duration. 2 stars seems fair here.
1. The Sleeper
4. Sigils and Portents
5. The Flesh Spiral
6. Dark Red Other
7. The Changer