Prezir – “Contempt”
Label: Self-released (digitally on Bandcamp)
Released: June 1, 2017
Greetings, diminutive carbon units. You know, you learn something new every day, and today I learned that it’s not just cheese that comes out of Wisconsin. Prezir is a black metal project with a bit of a melodic bend and a good dose of thrash that happens to come from that region of the land of stars and stripes. The three constituents are rather prolific, having been involved in numerous other bands that you may or may not have heard of, at least two of which have also released full-lengths this year. They’re busy bees, so let’s see how Prezir’s debut EP “Contempt” fares.
Today’s art history lesson will discuss the album cover, which happens to be Gustave Doré’s 1877 engraving “Richard I the Lionheart in Battle at Arsuf in 1191.” I presume this particular image was selected for its possible connection to the lyrics to the track “Dar al-Harb,” but that’s just conjecture on my part and it may simply have been chosen because it’s just neat. Fun fact: this image was also used on the Moonblood bootleg “Für Den Sieg.”
Anyways: “Contempt” starts with an introduction of an acoustic guitar and a voiceover. The guitar is fine, and sets the tone well enough, but the voiceover of someone describing a priest’s sexual assault of a girl feels out of place and adds nothing; samples can be tricky to use effectively, and in this case Prezir would have been far better off to let the music do the talking by itself. Once we get past that to the the proper songs, let’s say a mad scientist successfully found a way to fuse Deströyer 666, Arghoslent and Nocturnal Fear into a single entity. The tunes that malformed creature would spew out would probably sound something along the lines of Prezir. The music doesn’t really let up from full throttle, with the drums blasting away while the guitars flail wildly about. Solos are found throughout the album, with “The Legend of the Five Suns” having one I particularly like just past the halfway mark. Tracks like “Holy Men of Putridity” get a fair chunk of melody without losing aggression and maintaining the martial feel of the album. Vocals range from your typical black metal rasps to lower, more death metal-like grunts, occasionally layered on each other to add effect. The mixing is generally fine, but I don’t like the guitar tone of this release; the leads are distractingly high-pitched and at their worst feel like a particularly loud fly way to close to your ear. Aside from that gripe, “Contempt” actually sounds pretty good.
“Contempt” is a good first outing for Prezir; they have some things to work on, but this EP is enjoyable and they’re definitely a band to watch, especially if they take more of an Arghoslent or Grand Belial’s Key direction because no reasonable person can get enough of that shit ever. But Hell, find out for yourself, check them out at https://prezir.bandcamp.com/. You could do a lot worse with your time.
You can find Voidhanger on twitter talking about squirrels and screaming.