Genre: Black Metal
Label: Gilead Media
American Gilead Media is a label with a small but interesting arsenal of metal releases, from 2008 up to now. Albums of Thou, Krallice, and Ash Borer are indicatively some of the most qualitative that have been out through it. This year, the company has released the debuts of two bands, namely Pale Chalice and False (to whom I shall return in another review), both of them from the U.S. Pale Chalice is a quartet from California, which had previously released only one EP (“Afflicting the Dichotomy of Trepid Creation”, 2011).
In this year’s debut, by the long-winded title of “Negate The Infinite And Miraculous”, the Americans play a mainly Norwegian-influenced, flexible black metal, which is quite interesting riff-ologically, since it draws heavily upon the spine of early Enslaved and Kampfar, with a slightly more urban and dark aspect. There is perpetual movement throughout the album, in mid- and fast-tempos, always flowing, setting itself apart from the vagueness so characteristic of “intelligent” US black metal nowadays. Even the intro(?) “Through Vexed Veil” does not hesitate to reveal a vicious triumphant riff, before it gives way to the grandiose 8-minute “Shaking Nerves And Vacuous Spheres”, which is structured around a Frost-like verse. There are many interstitial melodic enclaves scattered around the album, full of reverbed guitars, while one can glimpse some elegant groove moments, as in the “Bound By Intransigent Flight” track. Vocals are mainly of a raspy hue, with clear pronunciation, though nothing special.
With a satisfying production on the front, Pale Chalice, with “Negate The Infinite And Miraculous” deliver a pleasurable album, which however is somewhat problematic concerning the number of memorable moments. Though the flow is excellent while listening to it, the compositions could be a tad better, so as the listener could recollect the songs as distinct units, and not as a delicious but somewhat vague whole. Nevertheless, this a more than solid debut album, which showcases a band that has excellent foundations, and knows how to build upon them; if they improve just a little bit, their next album could very well be a masterpiece.