The third full length release from Palace of Worms (the solo project of multi-instrumentalist Balan) opens with a bang. In the Twilight Divide is 7 minutes of hard-hitting metal but with a nice melodic edge that helps it stand out from the pack.
Crunching riffs, pounding drums…it’s an opener that excites while staying true to a traditional metal sound. It’s got plenty of imagination, shown around about the 2:30 mark as it drops away into subtle tune with soft crooning vocals. Worlds away from the gurgling, throat-ripping style found elsewhere.
At only 7 tracks long there is a sense of urgency in the music. From the Ash is fast paced, delivering a ‘to the point’ slab of metal with some fantastic bass hooks that dig into your flesh nicely. While Night Worlds near 8 minute journey is one of the highlights of the entire album. With a dark sound that mixes black & doom metal perfectly, it manages to capture exactly what makes The Ladder such an intense listening experience.
You can never quite predict just what will come next as each song has its own unique direction changes. Changes that don’t sound out of place but rather an extension of what we’ve heard already.
The otherworldly sounds of An Innate Sickness has an interesting brooding effect but feels a bit pointless. With the album only being 7 tracks long, it really doesn’t seem necessary to have this ‘intermission’. It just doesn’t do much & at 3+ minutes long, it begins to bore very quickly.
Thankfully the 12 minute epic that is Strange Constellations brings things around wonderfully. It’s consistent heaviness with occasional changes in style keeps things interesting. It’s got the best vocal performance of the entire album & it melds perfectly with the dark riffs.
The final two tracks offer different things. Wreathe is a subtle, evil sounding piece of music with some great guitar melodies. The use of cleaner vocals doesn’t detract from the general malaise that exists throughout. While Ephemeral Blues goes out for one final assault on the mind, instruments smashing together to create a glorious black metal sound.
It’s a fantastic end, arguably the best track on the entire album. It lifts the spirits even if it does sound like it crawled out of the deepest & darkest bog.
Overall Track Listing:
1. In the Twilight Divide
2. From the Ash
3. While Night Worlds
4. An Innate Sickness
5. Strange Constallations
7. Ephemeral Blues
The Ladder was released on the 8th of April 2016 but as of the 17th February 2017 it is now available on physical CD via Acephale Winter Productions. It is available to buy now via streaming music services & on Bandcamp here as well as earlier work here & on Broken Limbs Recordings here. You can find out more over on Facebook & check them on out on YouTube.
Palace of Worms - The Ladder (Broken Limbs Recordings)
The Final Score - 8/10
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