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Banishment - "Cleansing the Infirm" (CD)

Banishment - "Cleansing the Infirm" CD cover image

"Cleansing the Infirm" track listing:

1. Maelstrom of Restless Indignation
2. Adverse Offering from the Supreme
3. Translucent Birth of Iniquity
4. Obscure Benevolence
5. Shroud of Infamy
6. An Inimical Figure
7. Detriment
8. Cleansing the Infirm
9. Scourge Under Empyreal Treachery

Reviewed by on July 12, 2009

"'Cleansing the Infirm' sounds a bit like Dethklok’s blacker moments"

No silly keyboards for this band. Only the unholiest of the Devil’s instruments may play for them. Banishment has studied the ways of the fathers of black metal. They are what the kids call “old school.” The production is in the 21st century though, so as not to completely copy the masters. But I do have an undeniable feeling that the drum work is not all man-made. It just goes too damn fast to be human at times. Maybe the drummer is just half robot. You decide.

“Maelstrom of Restless Indignation” is not just a catchy song title; it is the explanation of the first track. The song is just wind sweeping through a forest with hints of someone breathing. The wind is unkempt, angry, and restless. Because the wind is angry, it creates a maelstrom. Get it? If not, do not stray. There is some music on the way.

Beginning with “Adverse Offering From The Supreme” and ending with “Scourge Under Imperial Treachery,” the listener feels as though he is in the midst of tape traders and spandex-wearing men on MTV. The drums kick a furious double-bass mess throughout the entire album, only stopping for short pauses. “Detriment” includes a drum solo so you can examine his skills more closely. The vocalist growls from the bottom of his sack. This is a sound that rattles the walls even though you can’t hear it. Other than being so low to the ground, the vocals afford no surprises other than “An Inimical Figure” not including any vocals at all.

The guitars were interesting in that the quieter guitar, which would normally be the rhythm guitar, plays a lead riff. The louder guitar, usually the lead, played the rhythm melody. They both sounded great anyway. They were dirty yet not lost in the rest of the music. They were raw and identifiable. And if one day you do decide to give the album a spin, be sure to listen to it with very good headphones on. That way you’ll get the full benefit of the guitars playing in stereo with one on each side of you.

The music created here is very rich for being non-melodic black metal. The guitars make an incredible contrast between each other and lead the music through all of its constant stop, starts, and tempo changes. “Cleansing the Infirm” sounds a bit like Dethklok’s blacker moments, and even though they’re a cartoon band, the men behind the drawings are accomplished musicians that create good music for a cartoon. That was a compliment. Anyway, if you want to pretend you’re 16 again or if you want to pretend you were 16 then and not now, Banishment is a good choice for you.

Highs: Good, old fashioned black metal. No frills

Lows: Maybe they could have used a couple frills. It gets a little boring.

Bottom line: It's good music for old school black metal but that doesn't mean it couldn't do something a little different.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)