The Dutch death/black/doom metal act known as Soulburn was originally devised as on offshoot of the legendary Asphyx to allow the members to tap into their love for all things Bathory, Celtic Frost, and Venom, and for a while both bands kind of co-existed alongside each other before Soulburn was put to rest in 2000. Well, the band are now back as a fully functioning unit, no longer dependant on what goes on with Asphyx, as founding members Eric Daniels (guitar) and Bob Bagchus (drums) have left the death metal legends to fully concentrate on the reformation of Soulburn, alongside vocalist/bassist Twan van Geel and guitarist Remco Kreft. Their new album for Century Media is titled Earthless Pagan Spirit, and contains eight tracks of fiery metal signaling a welcome return for the band.
Blending black metal, death metal, and doom isn't always the easiest thing to do successfully, but Soulburnhave indeed accomplished that feat here on Earthless Pagan Spirit. Massive riffs and monstrous drumming provide a thunderous springboard for van Geel's hellish black metal rasps on the veomous "Howling at the Heart of Death", while both "The Torch" and "Withing Nights" blast away with cold, frost laden savagery, images of the classic bands of the Scandinavian scene instantly coming to mind. On the other end of the spectrum, crushing death metal with a touch of epic doom can be heard on "The Blood Ascendant"(easily the best tune here...a monster!) and "Spirited Asunder", the riffs huge, the vocals tortured, and the atmosphere chilling. The production of the album is quite good, powerful but not too slick, the guitars up front and deadly and the snarling vocals exactly where you want them, not overshadowing the music but never taking a back seat either. Based on what's on display here, Soulburn without a doubt are here to stay and need to be taken seriously as a band with plenty to offer. Recommended.
1. Where Splendid Corpses Are Towering Towards The Sun
2. The Blood Ascendant
3. Howling At The Heart Of Death
4. As Cold As Heavens Slain
5. Withering Nights
6. The Torch
7. Spirited Asunder
8. Diary Of A Reaper