WEAPON, Embers and Revelations (2012, Relapse)

The skull:
Sometimes we at Skull HQ complain about covers jammed up with just too much shit, but here’s a fine example of maximalism done right. Let’s start with the snakes: usually when you see a symmetrical design like this, the snakes are an obvious cut and paste job. But if that’s the case here, the artist at least went to some lengths to make sure each snake looked like his own serpent. For that matter, most artists would have just doubled that wolf, but here the artist wisely went with a tiger/wolf thing. The circle behind the skull is unique the whole way around, the crown is actually lighted, hell even the horns are distinct (and while it looks goofy, I appreciate the more realistically goat-like placement thereof.) The skull looks childish, which is a motif we always appreciate here, and the background is nicely textured and NOT BROWN. Really, there is basically nothing to complain about here, except that what the hell does any of this have to do with embers or revelations?

The music:
If Rebel Extravaganza-era Satyricon and Covenant-era Morbid Angel had a demon skull love child, it might sound like Embers and Revelations. That’s a good thing! This is a rather excellent black/death metal album that might lean a bit more heavily in the black direction, but is still supremely heavy and riffy after the fashion of the best death metal. The songs show variety and even some genuine imagination (the phased-out ending of “Disavowing Each in Aum” is so cool I listened to it three times!); the production is stellar, and the performances all around are top notch. Though it’s rare that I really crave this sort of thing, this is exactly what I’d want to hear when I do (assuming I can’t find my copy of Old Mand’s Child’s In Defiance of Existence, at least). There are a ton of bands on Relapse that I can’t stand, but that’s almost always because I don’t care for the specific type of music. Damned near every band on that label works at the highest levels of its respective subgenre, and Weapon is a sterling example of that. Shame that the band broke up after this, but what an exit!
— Friar Johnsen