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Non-Black Metal from Norway - 68%

Oxenkiller, May 21st, 2008

This LP came out about a year or two before the big Nordic Black metal explosion, and thus, its influences are the splatter/gore death metal that was prevelant at the time, mainly Carcass, Repulsion, and Incantation.

This LP has a VERY raw sound to it. That is both its strongest selling point and its greatest drawback. The guitar is very raw and distorted, similar in tonal qualtity to the first two Celtic Frost LP's but a bit louder in the mix. The drums and vocals are pretty audible, although the bass could definately be louder. Overall, it sounds good, but it is nonetheless a very rough, primitive sound mix.

A local San Jose (KFJC) underground radio DJ once described this LP as "the kind of metal you play when you have lots of endurance but not much talent." While that is a bit unfair, the limitations of this band are somewhat obvious to the listener. The drumming is not very good. Its simple, repetitive, and without much sense of timing, although it is fast. The guitar work is adequate but raw sounding- I would compare it (again) to Hellhammer or Celtic Frost- a mixture of fast strumming, a few slightly more complex licks and very few lead breaks. They probably could have used a decent lead guitarist here.

But hey, I like Hellhammer and Celtic Frost. The album contains some really twisted, evil sounding riffs, ranging from morbidly slow and heavy, to loud, fast, and angry, all having great effect. Unlike the compositions of their Black Metal countrymen, these songs tend to be non-modal. Which means instead of adhering to a minor (or major) 8-tone scale, the tunes encompass any and all combinations of the 12 half-tones to create their riffs. The overall effect is that they avoid the "traditional" sense of melody, unlike most black metal bands, and instead create a twisted sense of sinister and malevolent vibes from the jagged riffs.

Purists will dig the raw, noisy underground feel of this album. Some may not care for its lack of refinement however. It doesnt hold up as well as some of the releases of that period but it is still a decent and very listenable death metal release. From what I have heard of their subsequent releases, this band cleaned up their sound somewhat to resemble that of Kreator or Pestilence, but seemed to lose some of their raw appeal in the process.