The Womb Of Zero
As a means of channeling the deepest, most sincere spiritual yearnings of its members, Bythos is not a far cry from their other two prominent creative outlets Behexen and Horna, but it is the unusually passionate and gentle way in which they express themselves on The Womb Of Zero what makes this album arguably even more intense than any of the more oppressive ones by those two bands. Indeed, whereas Behexen and Horna justify their destructive, malicious beliefs with equally destructive and malicious music, Bythos on the surface feels like merely a love letter to those beliefs, a genuine and heartfelt manifest of devotion. But, as the old saying has it, the devil is in the details and The Womb Of Zero is nothing but perpetual string of details and nuances.
The fact that many of the melodies on this album appear to be quite accessible could perhaps raise some eyebrows and lead some of the less tolerant audience to believe that all those pleasantly sounding moments might devalue or compromise the band’s identity to a certain extent, but the truth is that not a single second of music on The Womb Of Zero feels tacky or cheap. Quite the contrary, songs like When Gold Turns Into Lead or Omega Angel, for example, despite featuring some of the most gentle, romantic leads one will arguably ever hear on a black metal record, are so irresistibly captivating and pleasing that they simply demand repeated listens, without causing even the slightest feeling of guilt.
Of course, mentioning only these two doesn’t mean that other tracks on the record are any less memorable. Call Of The Burning Blood, for instance, is a mean track with some of the most satisfying riffs and drum fills this album has to offer. Hymn To Lucifer also comes to mind immediately, as a moving tribute entirely worthy of its name, with some simple yet effective guitar work and mournful, hypnotising chanting. Truth is that every single song here, from Black Labyrinth to Luciferian Dawn, has at least something worthwhile about it and is a little highlight in itself.
The fact that these three established black metal musicians with respectable individual track records behind them didn’t shy away from showing their more mellow and sentimental side on this album, and made themselves more vulnerable than ever before with their music, shouldn’t leave anyone second-guessing as to why they did it. Obviously, the bliss of adoring some higher power does that to people sometimes. But despite all the sentiment and emotion, this album still manages to fulfill its ultimate purpose, that essentially boils down to one simple question. Does the devil feel at home on The Womb Of Zero? The question is, of course, rhetorical, because the answer is unambiguously and undeniably yes.
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