Artist: Miles to Perdition
Album: Blasphemous Rhapsody
Perdition: noun. from Old French perdiciun, as adapted from the ecclesiastical Latin perdition—in turn derived from the Latin perdere ‘destroy,’ from per- ‘completely, to destruction’ + the base of dare ‘put.’ Its definition? A state of eternal punishment which the wicked enter upon their remission from this earth. A fate of skin to be forever flayed, limbs decomposing and sanity leaching into the dreary, blood-soaked mud of Hell. This is the fate that awaits the listener upon exposure to the soul-smothering, earth-crushing juggernaut that is Miles to Perdition’s Blasphemous Rhapsody. A blend of technically savvy melodic death metal and hard-hitting, chug-friendly metalcore, Blasphemous Rhapsody is a relentless lesson in all things metal from this lacerating Luxembourg-based quintet. Armed with punishing percussion and furious, intense fretwork, Miles to Perdition have everything it takes to sentence the listener to an eternity of the most blissful Hell imaginable.
Snap. Miles to Perdition’s cat o’ nine tails cracks into the listener’s flesh in the form of furiously fretted, intensely written riffs that are nothing short of skin-rending. First and foremost, the musical masterminds behind Blasphemous Rhapsody are riff machines, cranking out razor-sharp notes and cantankerous chugs one after another without fail. This is where Miles to Perdition are most successful. “Miles to Destroy” opens with an almost power-metallic, high-strung sequence of notes that nestles firmly inside the listener’s head, getting caught there until their brains are blown onto the pavement by the sinister heaviness that composes the song’s climax. Here, the otherwise periphery percussion becomes intense and looming—busting through the walls of thick, rolling basswork and through the vines of dynamic guitar interplay to split the listener’s skull in twain. “Slave Nation” is similar—using percussion as a pace-keeper for a duration of the track, save the precious few moments where the listener is completely ambushed by an intense fill or machine-gun blast beat that drops the track into a metalcore-inspired cacophony of brutalizing chugs that breaks the listener’s bones as if they were crackers under a steamroller. Perhaps the most marvelous example of dynamic communication between the guitar and percussion comes from the apex of “Blasphemous Rhapsody,” which showcases a dialectic between the two guitars and pummeling percussion that allows all three elements to act in perfect harmony—completely deconstructing the listener bit-by-bloody-bit.
While the instrumentation oscillates between a perfunctory, technically prominent metallic side and a crushing, -core-influenced brutalizing side, the vocals find themselves flexible enough to fit no matter the tone of the music. Whether it’s turning the symphonic, atmospheric portions of “Karma Sutra”’s opening, or the soul-shredding heaviness of “Blasphemous Rhapsody,” the vocals are constantly visceral and grating. Ranging from a shrill, throat-searing shriek, a harsh, crisp scream or a grimy, simply filthy guttural gasp, the vocals are dynamic to fit to any portrait Miles to Perdition choose to paint on the canvas that is Blasphemous Rhapsody. Some of the album’s more gruesome depictions—the title track and “Slave Nation” among them—make a heavier use of the vocalist’s extreme range, be it ear-splittingly high or prolapse-inudcingly low. Other tracks—“Karma Sutra” or “Pray to Destroy” work more in the relative “middle” range of the band’s vocal prowess, using a mildly low growl or higher-than-mid scream to paint pictures of punishment, sin and anguish. However, as the vocals are nothing short of top-notch, the greatest pitfall on Miles to Perdition’s album comes from the stories they tell.
How many times have you listened to a metal album telling stories about demons, battling for all eternity, so on, so forth? See, you’re bored just reading me rambling about it. The same applies for the approach taken by these medieval metallers—while the instrumentation paints a beautiful background, and the vocals are intense and dynamic, the lyrical content of the album is otherwise dull and relatively uninspired. This is only a slight problem—as it doesn’t keep the listener from getting immersed in the technical mastery that Miles to Perdition make their focal point. Rather, it just limits how engrossing the album remains after repeated listens; no matter how enthralling the vector is, hearing the same-old story time after time from band after band gets old. There’s no way around that.
If you’re a fan of intense, cranially-crushing death metal-gone-metalcore, then Miles to Perdition are without a doubt a band you should familiarize yourself with. Blasphemous Rhapsody is a visceral, hard-hitting release that is practically technically flawless and a brilliant display of the fine line between melodeath and metalcore—even if the lyrical monotony makes that fine line a tedious stroll along a trapeze-wire for more experienced listeners in the genre.
For Fans Of: Bel’Akor, As Blood Runs Black, Salt the Wound, Necrophagist