Denouncement Pyre – Forever Burning (Album Review) 

Denouncement Pyre – Forever Burning 
Released: June 17, 2022

Lineup:

D. // Vocals & Guitars
T. // Guitars
R. // Bass & Backing vocals
L. // Drums

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Australia’s recent metal scene has largely focused on the break-out success of metalcore style bands, Parkway Drive, Northlane, Polaris, all of whom could be considered among the world’s best in the sub-genre. An underrated aspect of our scene is the prevalence of death metal bands with a long heritage and continuity going back to the early 90s. Melbourne lads Denouncement Pyre have grown considerably from their early demos as a three-piece through a trilogy of blackened death albums. Their fourth album, Forever Burning, arrives after a lengthy delay since 2016’s Black Sun Unbound, a record that showed glimpses of expanding their sound beyond the usual limitations of the genre, with the closing tracks demonstrating a more melodic and even tempo approach to songwriting. So expectations are high among their devotees, especially with their past appearances on festivals such as Maryland DeathFest. 

There is no messing around with the opening title track straight out thrashing from the get-go. It’s a blistering riff and D’s bark calling on listeners to “stand beside us”. It’s classic DP, firmly entrenched in the depth of hell with a mix that is filthy so the noise just bounces in that area between the skull and brain. It’s a tribute to their fans and those who would align themselves with the Pyre and keep the flame burning.

Somehow, ‘The Liberating Fires of Moloch’ is even more intense and relentless. The closing section has a slower riff with a hint of melody on the lead, showing the band’s growing confidence as writers and performers. Even though the drumming is quick on the blast beats and the right wrists of both D and T get a workout, there’s more variation across the riffs with a slower tempo between the frantic sections. In that way, ‘Tongues Stretched For Salvation’ is a dive into black metal with shades of the 80s or 90s originators but a modern set of leads. Just as the lead reaches its apex, it drops out with samples of a woman swallowing her tongue adding to the horror show before returning to the chaos of noise. 

It’s not all noise though. ‘Burn This World and Start Again’ offers a different tempo and a more accessible riff without losing any of the intensity. It’s got a fairly melodic solo and leads too, making it a highlight that will see you pressing back to listen again. It does end up in the familiar blast beats but also has some restraint too. Despite the lengthy run time, it’s never dull. Similarly, ‘Darkness In The Eyes Of Apophis’ kicks off with a riff from the Judas Priest or Mercyful Fate playbook, though admittedly faster and more intense. D’s love for obscure mythology highlights the album’s lyrics, Apophis is the Ancient Egyptian God of Chaos, which takes it beyond the usual Nordic god influences of European death metal. There’s a killer part on this track where D takes on a deeper voice to mimic the deity.

First single ‘Hung Like Swine’ also stands out with its sick riff and aggressive delivery. It won’t sit right for everyone but also demands attention with a furious pace and demonic vocals. There’s a breakdown that offers some respite, serving as a bridge between the chorus and a lead break, before the pummelling picks up again. ‘The Opposer of Light’ uses the verses to drill into your head before also firing away on the snare and double kicks. At one moment I had to stop to think of the beating the ride cymbal must have taken during recording. It culminates into a gang chant for Satan, which will quite simply go off live.

The final track ‘Sunder the Living Temple’ brings more melody with a tolling bell indicating the end of the world before plowing through with a more subdued fury and growl. Of course, it doesn’t stay that way with the tempo increasing, though there’s real control of the riff too, coming back to the opening progression and a familiar feeling of doom. Just when it seems like it is over, as feedback smoulders, the band catches ignites again and finishes with a quick flame out in the darkness. 

There’s a real sense that time away has relit the fire under Denouncement Pyre. Whether it was the pandemic and some downtime or just the pent-up frustration with the world, Forever Burning is full of the aggression you would expect with some variety in the lyrical themes. It probably doesn’t quite realise the potential showcased on Black Sun Unbound as it retreats to a more familiar blackened death chaos for the first half. There’s a couple of songs that merge doom with blast beats to spectacular effect, and ‘Forever Burning’ itself is a surefire live anthem, so these tracks are worth seeking out for non-believers. Hopefully, we don’t have to wait too long for album number five.

Denouncement Pyre – Forever Burning tracklisting:

1. Forever Burning
2. The Liberating Fires Of Moloch
3. Tongues Stretched For Salvation
4. Darkness In The Eyes Of Apophis
5. Hung Like Swine
6. Burn This World And Start Again
7. The Opposer Of Light
8. Sunder The Living Temple

Rating: 8 / 10
Forever Burning is out Friday via Agonia Records. Pre-order here.
Review by KJ Draven (Twitter and Instagram

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