Denouncement Pyre – Forever Burning – Album Review

Artist: Denouncement Pyre

Album Title: Forever Burning

Label: Agonia Records

Date of Release: 17 June 2022

It wasn’t until I was doing my research ahead of this release, that I realised just how many bands that fall into the black/death/thrash arena hail from Australia. The most famous of these is arguably Deströyer 666, about which I am at least slightly familiar. However, the list also includes the likes of Nocturnal Graves, Impious Baptism, and Destruktor to name but a few. And to that list, we must also add Denouncement Pyre. I’ll admit that I wasn’t familiar at all with the name, but I figured I’d give the fourth album of this Melbourne-based quartet a listen. It was a decision, if I’m honest, based on a combination of the cover artwork, illegible logo, and the fact that ‘Forever Burning’ finds itself on the relatively reliable Agonia Records.

As with many bands of their ilk, the quartet that makes up Denouncement Pyre are cloaked in anonymity. Mercifully they don’t have names like ‘Bludgeoner’ or ‘Havokwreaker’ – instead, it’s simply initials, namely D (vocals and guitars), T (guitars), R (bass and backing vocals), and drummer L. They talk a good fight, stating that the music on this album “represents a fiery will that cannot be broken…a homage to the triumph and tribulations of those who walk the path of fire. With the limitations of the mundane world fiercely aligned against us, we charge forth, unwavering, unbound! Forever Burning!”

I’m sure you’ll agree that this is essentially a middle finger attitude, aimed at all those that might seek to oppose the band and their brand of music. And as it turns out, the attitude and the music go hand in hand because ‘Forever Burning’ is a 40-minute barrage of unbridled menace, aggression, and bristling attitude. Not that this should come as any kind of surprise though, because none of us listen to this kind of music to learn more about fluffy animals or the delicate charms of garden fairies. Music that incorporates death, black, and thrash metal is meant to be nasty and full of spite. So strike one for Denouncement Pyre.

There is a great deal to like within ‘Forever Burning’, but if I am going to be 100% fair and honest, there’s just something ever so slightly missing overall which impedes some of my enjoyment. What you do get is plenty of cold, icy riffs in the minor key, lots of brisk and unrelenting blastbeats, a nicely rumbling bass, wild lead breaks and wailing guitars, and caustic, venomous rasping growls. There are even times when the music veers into slightly slower, more groove-oriented passages, or the band deliver a melody or two. It sounds like a great combination on paper, and the reality isn’t bad either. But it isn’t absolutely knocking my socks off and that’s a little disappointing.

After further reflection in an effort to untangle my thoughts on this record, I think there are a couple of reasons why ‘Forever Burning’ is just ‘good’ and not essential in my opinion. Firstly, I find the general unrelenting nature of the music, coupled with the production to be a little wearing. Even at the halfway mark, it feels like I’ve been listening for a lot longer than I actually have. And by the end, I need to give my ears a bit of a rest. That’s not because the music is too insanely heavy or overly extreme for my tastes. But when you take the rather abrasive-sounding production and add in fast-picked riffs and incessant double pedal drumming, it creates no small amount of fatigue within me.

I also think things would be far more enjoyable with greater variety woven into the music. When there’s a hint of melody or a slower, groovier section, I find the material resonates with me just a little more, creating some extra memorability. Take the opening title track as an example of all that is so right about Denouncement Pyre. It kicks off at a brisk pace with the black metal elements most prominent, especially when the lead guitar lines come in to add some frosty melody. But there’s a demonstrable thrash attitude which further manifests itself in a fast, wailing lead guitar solo. And later, the band inject a really cool groove that gets my head nodding appreciatively.

There’s a lovely melody-tinged solo buried deep within ‘Tongues Stretched For Salvation’ but the bulk of the song does little for me, even when some sampled voices are added to the quieter section to provide something a little different. The best song on ‘Forever Burning’ as far as I’m concerned is the charmingly titled ‘Burn This World And Start Again’ which benefits from a much greater degree of groove and has some melodic refrains and leads that prove that these Aussies can do it when they want to. I just wish they’d want to do it a little more often throughout this record.

Therefore, as solid and uncompromising as ‘Forever Burning’ undeniably is, I find that I am left just a little cold by it. I have literally no doubt that real afficionados of this style of music will rubbish my review and love every sadistic, hate-filled note. But I speak as I find and aside from a few of the tracks on offer, I don’t hear enough to allow me to wax lyrical about this album, or to add it to my collection.

The Score of Much Metal: 71%

Check out my other 2022 reviews here:

Truent – Through The Vale Of Earthly Torment

Wind Rose – Warfront

Kardashev – Liminal Rite

Artificial Brain -Artificial Brain

Seventh Wonder – The Testament

All Things Fallen – Shadow Way

Def Leppard – Diamond Star Halos

Lord Belial – Rapture

Buried Realm – Buried Realm

Stiriah – …Of Light

Remains Of Destruction – New Dawn

Crematory – Inglorious Darkness

IATT – Magnum Opus

Iris Divine – Mercurial

Decapitated – Cancer Culture

Bekmørk – The Path Nocturnal

Septic Flesh – Modern Primitive

Blut Aus Nord – Disharmonium – Undreamable Abysses

Drift Into Black – Earthtorn

Spheric Universe Experience – Back Home

Outshine – The Awakening

Cosmic Putrefaction – Crepuscular Dirge For The Blessed Ones

Zero Hour – Agenda 21

Scitalis – Doomed Before Time

Morgue Supplier – Inevitability

Visions Of Atlantis – Pirates

Evergrey – A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)

OU – One

Haunter – Discarnate Ails

Aara – Triade II: Hemera

Pure Reason Revolution – Above Cirrus

Demonical – Mass Destroyer

I Am The Night – While The Gods Are Sleeping

Haunted By Silhouettes – No Man Isle

Delvoid – Swarmlife

LionSoul – A Pledge To Darkness

Watain – The Agony And Ecstasy Of Watain

Dischordia – Triptych

Dragonbreed – Necrohedron

Audrey Horne – Devil’s Bell

Vanum – Legend

Stone Broken – Revelation

Radiant – Written By Life

Skull Fist – Paid In Full

Hurakan – Via Aeturna

Incandescence – Le Coeur De L’Homme

Imminent Sonic Destruction – The Sun Will Always Set

Monuments – In Stasis

Soledad – XIII

Viande – L’abime dévore les âmes

Credic – Vermillion Oceans

Postcards From New Zealand – Burn, Witch, Burn

Darkher – The Buried Storm

Treat – The Endgame

Bjørn Riis – Everything To Everyone

Destruction – Diabolical

Et Moriemur – Tamashii No Yama

Angel Nation – Antares

Wolf – Shadowland

Denali – Denali EP

Centinex – The Pestilence EP

Meshuggah – Immutable

Chapter Of Hate – Bloodsoaked Decadence EP

Ancient Settlers – Our Last Eclipse

Tranzat – Ouh La La

Playgrounded – The Death Of Death

Father Befouled – Crowned In Veneficum

Abbath – Dread Reaver

PreHistoric Animals – The Magical Mystery Machine (Chapter 2)

Kvaen – The Great Below

Michael Romeo – War Of The Worlds, Part 2

Dark Funeral – We Are The Apocalypse

Carmeria – Advenae

Agathodaimon – The Seven

Moonlight Haze – Animus

Hellbore – Panopticon

Konvent – Call Down The Sun

Idol Of Fear – Trespasser

The Midgard Project – The Great Divide

Threads Of Fate – The Cold Embrace Of The Light

Arkaik – Labyrinth Of Hungry Ghosts

New Horizon – Gate Of The Gods

Cailleach Calling – Dreams Of Fragmentation

Tundra – A Darkening Sky

Sylvaine – Nova

Hath – All That Was Promised

Sabaton – The War To End All Wars

Kuolemanlaakso – Kuusumu

Oh Hiroshima – Myriad

Godless Truth – Godless Truth

Shape Of Despair – Return To The Void

Eight Bells – Legacy Of Ruin

Embryonic Devourment – Heresy Of The Highest Order

Serious Black – Vengeance Is Mine

Allegaeon – Damnum

HammerFall – Hammer Of Dawn

Immolation – Acts Of God

Veonity – Elements Of Power

Nightrage – Abyss Rising

Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Star One – Revel In Time

Pure Wrath – Hymn To The Woeful Hearts

Dagoba – By Night

The Last Of Lucy – Moksha

Arð – Take Up My Bones

Embryonic Autopsy – Prophecies Of The Conjoined

The Devils Of Loudun – Escaping Eternity

Cult Of Luna – The Long Road North

WAIT – The End Of Noise

Abysmal Dawn – Nightmare Frontier

Amorphis – Halo

Nordic Giants – Sybiosis

Persefone – Metanoia

Vorga – Striving Toward Oblivion

Mystic Circle – Mystic Circle

Nasson – Scars

Burned In Effigy – Rex Mortem

Silent Skies – Nectar

Celeste – Assassine(s)

Abyssus – Death Revival

SOM – The Shape Of Everything

Ashes Of Ares – Emperors And Fools

Beriedir – AQVA

Lalu – Paint The Sky

Nocturna – Daughters Of The Night

Battle Beast – Circus Of Doom

Lee McKinney – In The Light Of Knowledge

Descent – Order Of Chaos

Aethereus – Leiden

Toundra – Hex

Ilium – Quantum Evolution Event EP

Power Paladin – With The Magic Of Windfyre Steel

Necrophagous – In Chaos Ascend

Infected Rain – Ecdysis

Wilderun – Epigone

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2021 reviews

2020 reviews

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

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