Album Review: Erimha’s Reign Through Immortality
Many metal fans have long given up on Victory Records, whose quality metal roster has been dwindling over the years in favor of easily marketable Warped Tour/Hot Topic drek. With this in mind, it was quite surprising when the polarizing label announced the signing of Canadian symphonic black metal group Erimha. This was understandably a head scratcher that left many questioning the legitimacy of the act. A black metal band signed to Victory Records? Surely Erimha would chalk up to little more than a Cradle of Filth knock-off that missed the boat. As it turns out though, Erimha are in fact legitimate, and Reign Through Immortality is a powerful breakout that discards any and all comparison to their labelmates.
Though Erimha wear their influences on their sleeves, Reign Through Immortality is extreme, chaotic, and just the right amount of epic. All the staples for melodic and symphonic black metal popularized by Emperor and Dimmu Borgir are present and employed by Erimha, with a touch of Behemoth’s death-influenced take on the genre. There are no gimmicks here, at least if you ignore the corpse paint; Erimha brings a modern sheen to each of the aforementioned groups’ classics, and does the sound with enough justice that Reign Through Immortality holds up as equal to each of their latest records. Well, save for Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire and Demise, anyway.
On the surface, Reign Through Immortality may seem to tread too heavily on these established grounds, with Erihma failing to carve a path of their own in which they can develop their own identity. Whether it be the predictable intro track, the start-stop riffing in ‘Condemned To Desolation,’ or the slower and more melodic ‘Metaphysic Countenance,’ this is a record that can be taken at face value as a solid genre entry. However, Reign Through Immortality is a fast grower that becomes something much more than just passable. On successive listens, Erimha establish themselves as charismatic and well-versed musicians. What was once perceived as well-intentioned mimicry is actually an exhibition of the band’s extensive knowledge on what makes for a stand-out symphonic extreme metal record.
There’s something deeply satisfying about Reign Through Immortality, and this can be at least partially attributed to the thick production that makes the record so crushing. Thankfully, Erimha favors Behemoth when it comes to tonality, giving Reign Through Immortality a predominate low-end presence with punchy drums and audibly crunchy bass. When factoring the symphonic elements and walls of chaotic guitars, Reign Through Immortality sounds absolutely massive, particularly in the ten-minute finale,”Metempsychosis.”
Erimha exists in a realm where theatrics and symphonic elements aren’t overly campy or cheesy, especially when done with the confidence and talent to pull it off. Sure, Reign Through Immortality isn’t the most unique album to come out this year, but it takes the best bits from Dimmu Borgir and Behemoth’s discography to create powerful music that not only doesn’t disappoint, but surprises listeners by its near-flawless execution.