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Having their roots in the heart of the second wave time line, Endezzma are not strangers to the Norwegian black metal scene. The band originally formed as Dim Nagel in 1993, endured a fairly rocky history and, eventually, resurfaced as Endezzma in 2005. Given that members spent time in seminal acts such as Beastcraft, Urgehal and Vulture Lord, these guys have all the required street cred needed to jump start a healthy career in today's black metal market.
Taking cues from some of the founding fathers of black metal, Endezzma creates their own blend of rollicking and, at times, crusty black metal. Those familiar with the genre know that there is a huge over-saturation of black metal bands vying for everyone's attention and that it takes something special to stand out from the crowd. “Erotik Nekrosis”, Endezzma's first full length, tries to do just that. While there is nothing here that a fairly well-rounded black metal fan hasn't heard before, Endezzma manages to add some swagger and originality into their music. The result is black metal with prevalent Thrash and rock undertones.
The album starts off with movie samples, garbled noise and one long female scream before breaking into a fast paced double bass run with a very Darkthrone inspired trem line The vocals pop in with a fairly standard raspy shouted delivery, recalling images of a less crusty, modern Nocturno Culto. “Junkyard Oblivion” may be the album's hardest hitter and really grabs your attention from the beginning with the double bass and trem lines continuing well over halfway into the seven minute run time, at which point you hear a shouted snarl, “Come on you fuckers! Welcome to my oblivion!” The band instantly gets an enormous set of titanium balls as a thrash riff enters and the entire band moves into thrashy black mayhem which boasts enough swagger and straight up rock influence to impress even Elvis. The amazing thing is that the band manages to stay black and dirty while conjuring these rock images.
“Enigma of the Sullen” continues this trend of rollicking and rocking black metal, with firing trem riffs and blasting double bass and lead lines reminiscent of early teutonic thrash. During the same track, the band starts flirting with slower atmospheric elements, with airy melodic guitars, highly audible, thundering bass and very restrained drumming with weaving cymbal work. This is a trend that continues throughout the album: fast paced second wave influenced black metal into thrashy, rocking rhythms into atmospheric and airy segments. But this jumping around does not sound forced, at all, which is quite a feat if you ask me.
Most of the elements flow together nicely, except for “Hollow”, which is a slow paced song with melodic twining and slow paced everything. Eventually, the lead guitar lines work into a distorted country western lick while the vocalist does his best attempt at a cleaner vocal sound, which comes across sounding like a “low functioning” Glenn Danzig. It really interrupts the flow of the album, but the band dusts off and finishes the album with their swaggering black metal.
The band sounds most at home when delivering the thrashing black metal. The rock undertones give “Erotik Nekrosis” an air of originality and hints at later period Darkthrone and Satyricon, bordering on black and roll at times. Everything here is played well and the production is remarkably clean (with audible bass, mind you). Endezzma gave a fine attempt at black metal with rock undertones at times and the result is a highly listenable black metal album that should please most fans of the genre. The swank rock influence is present, but it's not really enough to draw in many outside of black metal fans. Nothing groundbreaking here, but worthy of a few spins.
Written for The Metal Observer
Featuring past and present members of other notable Norwegian bands such as Urgehal and Beastcraft, including the late Trondr Nefas (RIP), Erotik Nekrosis is Endezzma‘s debut full length effort more than 5 years of silence after the release of the 2007 EP, Alone. And with a lineup such as this, things can hardly go wrong as the band goes on to present 40 minutes of classic Norwegian black metal.
Chants greet the listener on opening track Junkyard Oblivion, before distorted voices appear, transporting one immediately to a post-apocalyptic setting, but shit gets real quickly as the band soon assault the listener’s ear with their rather thrashy brand of black metal. While the double bass-pedalled fury of drummer Carl hits the listener hard, the reckless riffing of Trondr on the other hand helps to make this onslaught a rather catchy affair, as the listener soon finds himself headbanging to the speedy black metal that is on Erotik Nekrosis. Sorgar’s vocal delivery, while mostly sticking to the tried and tested gruff black metal growl, at times helps to bring in a slight punk feel even. The slight punk sound that is on the album is not limited to the vocals only though, as the riffs of Trondr on the album, and even the bass lines, like on the intro of Enigma of the Sullen easily bring to mind later works of bands like Satyricon, helping to make this one hell of a fun record as well. Yet the band does not forget the atmospheric element that is so crucial in black metal, with the inclusion of haunting organs throughout the album helping to bring about a sense of mystery to the otherwise rather straightforwad music on the album, also giving it a somewhat old school feel at the same time. Slower songs like Hollow even brings about a rather depressive mood, bringing the listener on an emotional roller coaster ride as the album progresses.
This being one of Trondr’s final works, the guitar work on Erotik Nekrosis are also one of the attractions of the album. Apart from the usual black metal riffing that one might be familiar with on his works with Beastcraft and Urgehal, the abundance of lead segments throughout the album also display his shredding abilities. His versatility is also displayed with the ability to steer the emotions of the listener in the music with his guitar playing, easily going from a fast and aggressive style like on the opening Junkyard Oblivion to a calm and almost melancholic mood in the middle of Enigma of the Sullen, almost sounding like a ballad if not for the high energy segments that precede and come after it. Of course, such tracks also display the band’s songwriting versatility, and is probably my personal favourite track off the album with the variety of styles that are included on a single track, the seamless transition between moments and the ability to keep the listener enchanted throughout the entire 8 minutes.
The high energy that is maintained throughout the album, the superb instrumentation on the album and the great atmosphere all make Endezzma‘s debut a strong one, and one that is impossible to not enjoy.
After what I believe to be a looping Doctor Faustus quote, Norse heathens Endezzma dowse the listener in about 60-70 seconds of gradually escalating noise and horror, before letting loose the black metal dogs of war. It's a dramatic entrance, and one that they are fortunately able to capitalize with 40 minutes of consistent material that balances off the primalist riffing of early 90s Scandinavian extremity with a fair share of atmospheric content that prevents the record from ever growing stale. This is an important characteristic in a world where so many bands seem to aim for either one or the other half of this equation, and thus end up in a rather narrow confines from which it becomes difficult to escape. This is not some amazingly unique or inventive outfit, mind you, but they get the job done in the songwriting department, and the rhythmic variation here is appreciated.
Essentially, you've got these dense and compacted grooves ("Against Them All" is a good example) which draw upon the heritage of a Darkthrone, Celtic Frost/Hellhammer, or perhaps even a touch of the latest Satyricon black & roll; and sauteed in higher, jangling strings that often bear the brunt of dissonance. Some tracks go out for an even more anguished, atmospheric structure ("Swansong of a Giant", "Hollow") through which the guitars are used more as a malevolent backdrop for the tortured vocal. Elsewhere they lay on the thicker, double bass drums up to a faster pace, but this is not a band who ceaselessly blast across material: they want you to feel every note, every dripping, malignant emotion dispersed through the instruments and vocals, and as a result Erotik Nekrosis has all the airs of a seasoned, maturated recording. The bass is a copious brute, pumping along against the rhythm guitar, and the drums have a lot of crashing rock techniques that help support the grooves. Endezzma doesn't shy away from using cleaner (though still distorted) strings where they're applicable, and the vocalist puts a lot more character and meat into his inflection than the typical, forgettable rasp many black metal bands drone along with.
The late and prolific Trondr Nefas (also of Angst Skvadron, Beastcraft and Urgehal) shines on what is possibly his final recording, and that richness and cautious rendering of the rhythm guitar paired up with M. Sorgar's (aka Morten Shax) bloodied grunts and howls kept me transfixed upon the music throughout. Individually, I wouldn't claim that most of the note progressions are oh so memorable, and the songs aren't so infectious that I wished to immediately cycle back through them, but on the whole this is a album that really gets it right: it's immersive and interesting, and even the lengthier tracks don't tend to force any sense of boredom during the experience. The bold, up front production readily translates the band's oblique, ominous themes through the speakers without ever threatening the sterilization that often comes with overt polish and overdubbing. Erotik Nekrosis is nothing amazing by virtue of having heard its components many times before through Norse and Swedish black metal pioneers, but darkly pleasurable, well above average.
Like some deliveries, an album production can be particularly difficult, even painful. Thousand of incidents may occur and complicate independently working artists’ tasks, a finding that applies perfectly to Norwegian band Endezzma. Founded in the 1990s under another name (Dim Nagel), it released a single demo before falling into silence. It resurfaced in 2007 under its new name and launched this time an EP called Alone, which was critically well received. But troubles continued (especially due to an unstable line-up) and first full-length production took forever. Height of tragedy, one member (Trondr Nefas) died, while song writing work finally ended. It makes you wonder if Erotik Nekrosis is not a cursed album.
This combination of efforts and difficulties still manages to offer an interesting result. Unlike most of their compatriots who prefer cold environments and repetitive rhythms, Endezzma members offer rather a black metal strongly tinged with rock, even glam sometimes, through unusual keyboard sounds. Indeed, song writing revolves around effective and catchy riffs (furiously giving envy to tap feet and raise fist) over which are added layers of piano and other ambient sounds. This gives excellent songs such as Junkyard Oblivion and Enigma of the Sullen, which should unleash hell in mosh pits during concerts. However, the band is a little less convincing when it slows down its pace.
Following songs, without being bad, break the rhythm developed since the start, with a dragging tempo (Hollow) or uncertain harmonies (Swansong of a Giant). Band probably wants to illustrate its influences’ variety and avoid the linearity trap, but result is not convincing. Fortunately, group manages to conclude in force with two catchiest songs.
Despite a difficult process and long years of waiting, members of Endezzma finally released a first album that has its own identity, through songs relying primarily on efficiency. Strength of this record is based on very good riffs scattered over most songs, tailor-made for live performances. Apart from a few average and quickly forgotten titles, Erotik Nekrosis is a very good melodic murky and dirty black metal album, which provides good entertainment for anyone who appreciates the genre.
Originally written for Métal Obscur.