Slovakians Perversity have been steadily hammering away through 17 years and numerous line-up changes, but they only became really active in the 21st century as they started to put out their full-length efforts. Their style has been pretty typical of the brutal field, with the obvious influences of Suffocation, Immolation, Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse and other US pioneers. However, they've made minor tweaks and alterations through the course of the first three albums, and while I can't say I fancied any of those releases, Ablaze feels like a tighter beast altogether, fashioning their slightly technical approach into a cohesive, dynamic range of options that keep the listener's attention even if there are precious few individual riffs of note.
Admittedly, this is a bit of a dry record in terms of its production, and not as savage as the last one Beyond the Reach of Heaven, but here the Slovaks compensate with a percussive approach in which the bass pops and surges along to the constant tantrums of the guitars. There are a lot of jerking, lurching rhythms here which create a clinical overtone to the music redolent of the 90s Pestilence (Testimony of the Ancients) in "Hailing the Thieves of Souls" or "Palace of Skin", perhaps with a bit of Gorguts in "Devoted to Perdition". A lot of start/stop, drop of a dime precision goes into their playing and the result is something that must be fun in the live setting where the audience must flail about radically to match the rhythmic variety. That said, I tend to feel that whenever this band blasts along with muted tremolos, they lose a bit of what catches the ear, so I was far more into the slower or mid-paced sequences over which Juraj Handzus' repressed growling feels more open and spacious.
The lyrics here are pretty good, and deal with a lot of the human sin and occult topics that the band have hit upon in the past. Despite the pretty straightforward, down to earth production, there's a tangible feeling of darkness pervading the material. I quite enjoyed the piano/synthesizer pieces like the intro "Reach of Hell" or the opening to "Necrophiliac Beast". Some of the tracks are clearly stronger than others, like the closer "Blood of Hastur" which seems to have a lot more to offer than the first few cuts, and there are not a whole lot of exemplary guitar lines which stand to memory, but what Perversity offer is a balance of choppy grooves, aggression and musicianship that at least hangs on to the attention, even if they don't exactly knock it out of the park, and offer little to truly distinguish themselves from so many hundreds of bands in their medium. All told, if you're into similar acts like their countrymen Craniotomy or Dementor, or really any brutal semi-tech death internationally, then Ablaze could be worth your time.
Verdict: Win [7/10] (melting the canopy of heaven)