One does not simply listen to Pact…
Some albums aren’t adventures, escapades, journeys, pathways, portals, passages or promenades. They don’t introduce a storyline, they don’t meander, peak or plateau. No… some albums don’t do any of those things, and instead are simply a monolithic maelstrom constructed for the sole purpose of sucking the listener in and spitting them back out whenever they damn well feel like it. Although music such as this provides more of a frightening glimpse of an idea as opposed to a carefully curated delivery, it still serves a very important and much needed purpose in the world of extreme music while not neglecting the crafter’s overall message. In addition to further alluding to my already apparent attempts to alliterate, Pennsylvania’s Pact has just successfully created its first “musical maelstrom.”
Ridiculous cover art aside, The Dragon Lineage of Satan is a pretty vicious beast. To be specific, Pact plays tumultuous, fast-paced and extremely downtuned black metal along the lines of the French masters of this trade, Aosoth, but still incomparable in a variety of ways. First, let’s get one obvious flaw out of the way, namely the album’s murky production. Yes, it can be said that a certain atmospheric haze can add character and meaning to variations of black/doom metal (probably best demonstrated on The Ruins of Beverast‘s Rain Upon The Impure), but faster-paced albums such as The Dragon Lineage… lose a bit of punch within the wall of sound that they so aptly build. That may sound a bit nit-picky, but it’s perhaps the main obstacle that sets this debut apart from other elite albums within this fairly new category of devastatingly raw black metal. If that’s not too much of a turnoff, then prepare for descent into Pact‘s powerful occult lairs.
Track by track, The Dragon Lineage… attacks the listener in continuous waves (like any intense high), and on all fronts. T, the group’s drummer, pummels the kit with continuous and unpredictable blast beats while Wretch generates deep, droning riffs accompanied by a continuous buzzing that dominates the entire album without being overbearing in the slightest manner. To complete the trifecta, vocalist Heg possesses a magnificent, holy fuck-worthy set of pipes that are more than evil enough for Pact. (For his style, the dude could easily give Gaahl a run for his money.) Once the album’s third track, “Dreamless Death” rolls around, prepare to be fully sucked into the madness that intensifies with each song.
With such an impressive entrance into Moribund‘s dark halls, Pact easily ranks within the top quarter of all the label’s infernal legions. Additionally, The Dragon Lineage of Satan came at just the right time, as lesser-known acts can best utilize any year’s earliest months to make themselves known. That said, 2012 has been a busy one, and the fact that this album is second to only Mgla‘s With Hearts Toward None as far as this writer’s personal black metal favorites are concerned makes Pact‘s debut one hell of an accomplishment.