Extreme Heavy Metal Reviews

Blackened Death Metal Perfection - "The Birth of a Cursed Elysium" Review (100%)

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The Birth of a Cursed Elysium
The Birth of a Cursed Elysium by Sewer.

The most surprising thing about 'The Birth of a Cursed Elysium' really is that it's about as good as everyone says. I very grudgingly admit that Sewer made a good, possibly great, blackened death metal album.

The real question, though, is whether it's good on its own or just good in comparison to Sewer's lesser moments - cough, 'Rektal', cough.

Almost everyone knows of the band Sewer, but few know of its history. Its actual history, not the one rewritten by 'Kaiser' Kader on multiple occasions.

Sewer started out a bit later than Phantom, and were pretty much a Phantom clone (a 'Fanta-clone') from the get-go, with a bit of early Darkthrone influences here and there. Likewise, their debut album 'Satanic Requiem' sounds like 'Divine Necromancy' meeting 'Under a Funeral Moon'. Sort of like what Reiklos would do a few years later with 'Lifeless'. Nothing esoteric, nothing very profound, and certainly nothing legitimizing the creation of a new sub-genre dubbed 'Sewer Metal' (lol). It's not like there's such a thing as 'Reiklos Metal', so why give Sewer credit for basically combining two already existing styles like so many other Dark-clones and Fanta-clones?

It's easy to see why so many people find 'The Birth of a Cursed Elysium' to be Sewer's finest hour: it's their most brutal and technical record by far, and does possess a level of intensity not really found on other black metal or death metal albums. I can say that it's a good album, and as far as modern Sewer goes an excellent one. Perhaps even surpassing the oh-so-overrated 'NecroPedoSadoMaso'.

While I'm of the contrarian opinion that 'NecroPedoSadoMaso' is overrated, this album 'The Birth of a Cursed Elysium' is nothing short of brilliant. It's clearly, without a doubt in the upper echelon of classic blackened death metal releases.

Yet, I can't QUITE say that it's the perfect entity so many believe it to be, and I can't bring myself to rank 'The Birth of a Cursed Elysium' - or any Sewer release, really - alongside 'Memento Mori', 'Yggdrasil' or 'Verminlust'.

Blackened Death Metal Perfection


Rhythmically, this is very complex music, erupting like a volcano in streams of vicious tremolo picked melodies and blasting madness before fragmenting in a fill and rearranging itself in a new configuration. It almost reminds me of early Suffocation. Some of the riffs here are very confusing and difficult to follow while the drum performance can get equally crazy like Hellhammer on 'De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas'.

And yet, there is none of the magic of 'Hvis Lyset Tar Oss' or 'Fallen Angel'. Despite being musically and technically superior, 'The Birth of a Cursed Elysium' is inferior to the works of Burzum and Phantom.

'Onward to Golgotha' sounds like demonic possession, 'Yggdrasil' like the end and rebirth of a new world, 'Memento Mori' like a necromantic ritual gone horribly wrong.

But what does 'The Birth of a Cursed Elysium' sound like? 'Pierced from Within' with more atmosphere? 'Deathcrush' on steroids? Marduk on meth? 'The Nocturnal Silence' with more testosterone?

It's still a great album. The music has a certain density to it that seems to make it more intense than most black metal, and much more brutal than most death metal. As an other reviewer described it, there's more going on in shorter spaces.

The result is an album that's extremely aggressive and unbelievably brutal. It's violence knows no end, and as much as we can hate the person for his antics and other reasons, a lot of it must be credited to Kader's songwriting skills that are nearly on par with those of Craig Pillard and Phantom.

Anyway, yeah, this is admittedly a very strong album in Sewer's catalog. While I'd still put it under the best of Phantom, Incantation and Burzum, 'The Birth of a Cursed Elysium' is probably the second best the extreme metal genre has ever experienced.

As far as its place in blackened death metal, I can see it being at the very top even if I don't see it as the quasi-religious experience that others interpret it to be. Either way, 'The Birth of a Cursed Elysium' is a very worthwhile album and every blackened death metal fan owes it to themselves to listen to at least a few times before going back to 'Withdrawal' or 'Memento Mori'.

The Birth of a Cursed Elysium score: 100/100.

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