To listen to the three full length albums Weapon have released since 2009 is to witness a band searching for their sound. This is not meant as a knock on the Canadian quartet, in fact quite to the contrary; bands are supposed to evolve and grow from album to album. This fact is often lost in the context of death and black metal, where more often than not a lazy “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude prevails. Weapon spit blood and fire in the face of that attitude; they’re ambitious, dedicated craftsmen with world domination on their minds. Embers and Revelations, the latest in that aforementioned trio of albums, is the band’s most complete and commanding work to date, a work that sees Weapon finding that sweet spot between death metal’s pulverizing violence and black metal’s Luciferian spitefulness; harnessing it to create something totally their own.
What first strikes you about Embers and Revelations is the production scheme; it’s pristine in all the right ways. Music this expertly composed and played should be heard, not buried under a metric fuck-ton of sonic murk; leave that to the so-called “bestial” bands who need it to cover up the fact that they can’t play their instruments, let alone write a song that anyone would actually want to listen to if you scraped away the filth. Yes, the crystal clear recording quality works to Weapon’s advantage on Embers and Revelations, allowing their superior skills to shine through, crushing multitudes of lesser bands under the weight of riff after riff designed to annihilate with extreme prejudice.
The guitar work of Vetis Monarch and Rom Surtr is the undeniable highlight of album, in fact it’s the most destructive display of six-string sorcery Weapon have yet put to tape, which is really saying something when one considers how utterly demolishing the riffage on 2010’s From the Devil’s Tomb was. There is also a wealth of killer lead guitar to be savored here; just when I was starting to wonder if metal bands still knew how to write leads that actually served the song instead of devolving into mindless “look at me!” attention whoring, along comes Weapon with some of the most tasteful, fluid playing I’ve heard in ages. Of course the rhythm section are far from slouches; astute listeners will recognize drummer The Disciple as none other than Paulus Kressman of Sacramentary Abolishment and Rites of Thy Degringolade fame. Kressman can go apeshit on the kit with the best of them, but he reins things in here, delivering an unflashy yet thoughtful performance that provides Embers and Revelations with a rock-solid foundation.
Weapon is among the rarest of metal bands; hardworking, constantly learning and adapting in order to better themselves and sharpen their attack. Embers and Revelations finds them at the peak of their powers, at the same time leaving the door wide open for even further progression towards total supremacy. Can it be much longer before Weapon ascends to the top of the death/black metal heap as one of the genre’s apex predators, leaving a trail of smashed skulls, mangled carcasses and torched icons in their wake?