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Christgrinder - "Whence Cometh Evil?" (CD)

Christgrinder - "Whence Cometh Evil?" CD cover image

"Whence Cometh Evil?" track listing:

1. Radix Malorum Est Fidelitas
2. Whence Cometh Evil?
3. All Is Dust
4. He Of Cloven Hoof And Leathern Wing
5. Raped, Killed, And Raped Again
6. Necrodegenerate Phallus Envenomation
7. Faster Than The Speed of Darkness
8. To Reign In Hell
9. Things That Walk, Which Ought To Crawl
10. The Black Adhan
11. Opening The Eye Of Aisha
12. Witchfinder General

Reviewed by on April 13, 2015

"'Whence Cometh Evil' is kind of all over the place musically, which is probably both its selling point and its Achilles heel. There's easily more that works than doesn't, however..."

Get ready for a totally different beast from Christgrinder's 2011 EP. The band went from the amusingly titled “Smoke Crack, Worship Satan” to the more serious “Whence Cometh Evil,” taken from the Epicurus quote “Is god willing to prevent evil but unable? Then he is not omnipotent. Is able, but unwilling? Then he is malovelent. If is he both able and willing, then whence cometh evil? If he is unwilling and unable, then why call him god?”

Continuing with that same thought process, the album opens with a Christopher Hitchens quote about his objections to religious faith before slamming into some rumbling bass lines and heavy blackened death metal. If you prefer the more overt Satanic theatrics to atheistic musings however, there's still plenty for you, with track titles like “He Of Cloven Hoof and Leathern Wing.” A little Lovecraft also seeps in, with a chant of “the old ones were, the old ones are, and the old ones shall be” on “Things That Walk Which Ought To Crawl.”

Musically, “Whence Cometh Evil” is a hybrid of styles, going in many new directions not present on the last release. Although the band is probably classified under “black metal,” there's actually very little in the way of pure black metal going on. In fact death / thrash is probably a better identifier, but there are elements like the melodic guitar solo on “All Is Dust” that aren't really from any of those three genres.

“He Of Cloven Hoof And Leathern Wing” offers up folksy wind instruments out of nowhere, while “Faster Than The Speed Of Darkness” is an 11-second pornogrind track complete with over the top guttural vocals. Those vocals then completely change for “To Reign In Hell,” a slower moving beast of a track with atmospheric guitar work that brings to mind Belgian outfit Saille. The disc then ends on a completely different note with the classic doom metal sound of the cover song “Witchfinder General.” Moving through the album, there starts to become a Darkthrone comparison – not so much in the actual sound, but in the fact that Christgrinder is composed of two European dudes who ignore genre conventions and just make the music they want to make.

This sub-genre blending works well with most of the tracks, but is a bit more puzzling on others. “Opening The Eye Of Aisha” starts off really raw and old school, but gets psychedelic about halfway through, and then a sax suddenly shows up near the end. It's an ambitious gambit, but the execution isn't quite perfect. Likewise, “The Black Adahn” is sonically interesting with its all-female middle eastern chanting, but it really doesn't really fit on the album as a whole.

“Whence Cometh Evil” is kind of all over the place musically, which is probably both its selling point and its Achilles heel. There's easily more that works than doesn't, however, so for a roller coaster ride of engaging metal, do yourself a favor and check out this U.K. outfit's debut full-length.

Highs: Musically adventurous with lots of different styles present.

Lows: The sound quality isn't quite perfect, and some of the differing styles don't mesh well.

Bottom line: The band's first full-length crashes through black, death, thrash, doom, pornogrind, and more.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 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)