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Legitimate And Rewarding - 85%

3EyedGoat, March 24th, 2008

Gestapo 666 are one of those bands that may force a listener into a philosophical corner. Some are undoubtedly attracted to the band for their glaring anti-semitism. So, finding exactly what they expected front and center on this record, they blissfully avoid any moral quandary and are left to bask in a National Socialist wet dream. Others, of an indignant and overly dramatic character, totally intolerant in their finger-wagging crusade for tolerance, will seize on this recording and vilify it as a perfect example of all that is wrong with black metal (and to a larger degree France, which is second only to Germany on the Jewish Defense League's European shit-list). And then there are people like me....

I see all Abrahamic religions as part of the problem. From the hypocritical, anal retentive slave-masters for Christ, to the crazy-eyed amputee fetishist theocratic mullahs of Iran, to the avaricious porcine puppet masters of Israel and their apologist American lackeys, I'd execute 'em all if I could. So an album whose lyrical content contains anti-semitic sloganeering doesn't bother me anymore than an album which extolls the virtues of church burning would. Now, enough political bullshit. What's it sound like?

In short, this album kicks ass! While not perfect by any means, the good here easily outweighs the bad. It would be tempting to classify this as satanic war-metal and be done with it, but there's some subtle shades of mood happening here that are surprisingly unexpected. Black metal, after all, is not a genre known for its subtlety. The first hint comes with the album's title. The word "Nostalgiah" suggests a melancholic longing for a different time, now lost. A theme one might expect from a depressive/suicidal black metal album, but is unusual for the type of goose-stepping boot to the skull metal aural assault I was anticipating. And it's not just a reflective after-thought of a title either. This music bristles with bitter and despairing melodies which weave like a corrosive thread through the songs. The guitars careen between picking out these strange, sad figures of notes and lashing out flailing riffs which always seem to contain the perfect atonal occultation. Just enough to create the image of ancient blitzkrieg machines of destruction slowly coming back to life.

There seems to be a temptation for some bands when making an album like this, one which wears its earnest ideology on its sleeve like some swastika arm-band, to try and sound "kult" or "troo" by mixing out any semblance of bass and by making the guitars as thin as possible. Gestapo 666 avoid this conceit and their album is the better for it. The guitars have a thickness here which feels appropriate to the militaristic spirit of the record. The vocals are dead-on as well. Nothing novel or ground breaking, just a satisfyingly malevolent and hateful bark which really does sound like some sort of demonic brown shirt shouting orders to his regiment. Especially when he snarls, "HAIL SATAN, HAIL GESTAPO!!!!" Fucking bad ass.

Even the missteps here tend to serve the overall mood of the record. For instance, the drums are sloppy, sometimes dragging behind the guitars, sometimes rushing ahead of them. Anywhere else and this would be a distraction. Here, the clumsy drumming seems in keeping with the thematic construct of a malignant force lurching forth towards inevitable battle. The record also sounds like it was recorded in a hurry. These songs, for the most part, sound like first or second takes. I understand that Gestapo 666 consists of a relatively fluid line-up, with most, if not all, band members committed to other projects as their main gig. Again, where elsewhere this might be annoyance, here it seems to lend an urgency to the songs. Giving them a chaotic momentum which serves to propel the listener along as well.

The only disappointment is the last track. It feels uninspired and grows repetitive upon subsequent listening. But, one skipper out of the bunch is not bad at all. Give this one a listen if you're of a mind. It's become a mainstay in my metal record rotation.