Recluse – ‘Stillbirth in Bethlehem’


Label: Darker Than Black Records

Review by JH

Well, here’s an interesting one: Recluse is an American/French collaboration featuring Philip Mcsorley (known for his work in Cobalt) and Wlad Drakksteim from Vlad Tepes (among others).

If you seek a sound to impress that girl next door, then I suggest you look elsewhere, since Recluse will most likely make her call the cops on you. Recluse is all about sounding ugly and raw to the bone. Of course, the “raw” aspect isn’t overdone, you can still hear what’s going on. The somewhat sizzling production adds to the charm of the music and takes you back to the genre’s heyday. These guys are all about capturing that prevailing dark spirit of 90’s black metal when only darkness and death prevailed. The vocals are massively putrid and dabbles with some effects which certainly gives the music a very demented edge. The overall production of this release is quite rough around the edges and possess a demo-like quality. Given that, Stillbirth in Bethlehem is about as ugly and putrid as it gets for black metal, there’s definitely no gay harmonious melodies present.

Philip Mcsorley, who is actually a very capable musician, opts for a more minimalist approach with Recluse. Comparing this to Cobalt is simply out if the question, since neither of two sound anything alike. The simplistic nature of the songs might be a little hard for some to digest and recall the earlier works of Havohej, although perhaps even more cacophonous and less melodic. Yes, this is in fact a pretty vile release. It must be mentioned that this is the first Recluse release not to feature Philip on vocals, with Wlad handling vocal duties this time around.

Stillbirth in Bethlehem features 12 tracks of hate-filled chaos; it’s an album about as unfriendly and politically-incorrect as you’ll find. Only the most rampant of black metal fans will appreciate this aural puke, especially those inclined to LLN.