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Hades…who from the third album became Hades Almighty…for me they were one of the best Norwegian bands, but I say so mainly as I love their first two records. I worship them and oh yeah, they are fantastic. I also really like album number four… but what about their third opus? Well, it’s also damn good, but surely not even half as exceptional and killer as the early stuff. Anyway, we can surely say that Hades were / or maybe still are, as new album will come soon, among the best and most excellent bands from Norge. One of those bands which had their own personality and sound. I have all their stuff on vinyl, also the album number three “Millenium Nocturne”. Which I remember to be hugely disappointed with, when it came out. I had it on tape first and felt like it’s so damn boring haha! I actually didn’t listen to it for quite many years, so after giving some justice and good reviews to the previous Hades albums, I decided it’s also time and good opportunity to remind myself about “Millenium…” record.
I guess that one of the things, which for me personally works against the album is that it feels like the majority of it, basically every song, sounds the same. Like for example the tempo is practically similar all the way through – and it is a slower pace, which accompany to those majestic, monumental riffs… But you know, the previous albums were also slow, but somehow they were better in every aspect, the riffs were better, the whole songs were more interesting, with some stunning, memorable fragments and truly cold, dark atmosphere. “Millenium Nocturne” continues doing that, but in less effective way I suppose. None of these songs can match the previous materials and even if there are still some fragments of pure brilliance, then they sort of disappear in the entire, long album (which is 60 minutes long… maybe a little too long, for this sort of slow paced, monotonous music). I guess I could pick up some awesome parts from every song, some ideas, which I love totally, some excellent riffs, great vocals of Janto… Each song has something spectacular, but it is still not enough to impress me, when taking the whole album as one. Or let me put it that way – it is good album, no doubt, it is enjoyable, sometimes brilliant, but it fades, when compared to previous efforts and as a whole it’s just too monotonous.
Obviously Hades Almighty will be always a special band. They play something unique, original and special on the Norwegian black metal scene. The previous albums are simply perfect, so maybe that burden was too much to handle and besides, you just can’t make three amazing albums in row. “Millenium Nocturne” is a natural evolution of the style from the previous records, but it failed to deliver something utterly exceptional. I feel always torn apart, when I listen to this LP, because as mentioned before, there are some brilliant parts, but the entire album drags on as fuck and all songs melt into one. More so, I feel like it would be just better if we cut off some fillers, songs like “Carnival Blaspheme” for example, which is basically based on one or two themes that are going for six minutes and is just boring! Sure, such song shows also that Hades was progressing, started to experiment, but I just prefer simpler, but more in the face stuff and darker, more obscure approach they presented on previous LPs. Another rather filling song on the album is I think “To Reach Devine Fullfillment”… again, rather simple, one dimensional riffing and drumming, slow pace … but it just goes for seven minutes without a special excitement. It’s not a terrible song, but I guess I could have lived without it one the album. “Nightmare Endurance” – the same. Long as hell, dragging on forever!
On the other had such songs as “Dream Traveller” really kick ass with some great riffage, thundering drums (ha, sounds cheesy, but find out what I mean when you hear the song!) and generally really monumental atmosphere. I also love that mix of harsh vocals with weird, eerie howling... that sounds just uncanny. Hades was always a very riff based band, they didn’t use much of the keyboards or other stuff, their songs were always concentrated on the power, the strength of good, heavy riff… Song like “Dream Traveller” reminds us that. As mentioned, basically every song has something spectacular to unveil, but I must also mention “Nemesis”, as this one belongs to the most powerful and energetic songs on the album, even though the riffing in it has also some more progressive touch in few parts… but in this case, it just worked fine. “Gardens of Chaos” has the best motif from the entire record, I just love how this song begins, with nice acoustics, etc. and it just sounds superb, very much like the good, old Bathory, but that calm, acoustic theme is suddenly interrupted by awesome, harsh and aggressive riff – and real hell breaks loose, what a good song that is! Very heavy, doomy, but also powerful and truly monumental. Yes! “A Ballad of Death ad Obsession” is again starting with a nice acoustic theme, which is a trademark for Hades, so known on the previous albums and I love it. Further on this song has some better and worse moments, but is a decent and worthy one for sure. It’s just maybe too long again… It again has some of these howling vocals from drummer Remi (I think), which sound just like he was a Viking possessed by demons. Or drunk hehe! He has very specific voice and I know that not everybody will like his vocals, but I do.
OK, to conclude… this is solid record, yes, but it contains some better and worse moments. As a whole, I think it is just too long and too monotonous and so even these truly splendid fragments can’t save the entire record. In my opinion, this is Hades (Almighty) weakest recording. But I can’t imagine not having it on LP. I need this band’s entire discography, as they’re worth of that praise I give them!
Standout tracks: “Gardens of Chaos”, “A Ballad of Death ad Obsession”, “Dream Traveller”
Final rate: 69/100
Hades, changing the name into Hades Almighty, changed also their approach to black metal. In the past they used to play raw, doomy black metal with some viking elements like choruses or few other things. Now their black metal is more experimental, obscure and “alternative”. I don’t know why they changed, but this CD is the first one I bought in their discography and I like it.
At first I liked it for the cover artwork and then I started to love it for the music. Actually, the cover artwork is one of the most beautiful/gloom things ever done in my opinion and the music is simply like it…not often we can find the perfect combination between artwork and music: this is a rare case. The intro is made of female choruses and doom atmosphere. “Dream Traveller” is mid-paced, long and atmospheric with great, suffered vocals. The Viking touch is always present but in a different form, with more experimentalism.
All the tracks are very long and mostly mid-paced, pointing on the atmosphere: truly weird and “far”, like in a ritual. Check out the odd tempo parts/riff on “Carnival Blaspheme” with dissonant guitar lines/solos. One of the strangest things ever heard in black metal. If you search for faster parts you can enjoy “Nemesis” that contains some tremolos too and distorted solos. “Garden Of Chaos” is really obscure and melodic. Some acoustic guitar arpeggios give a more epic/Viking touch to an already very atmospheric and surreal song.
The melodies of “A Ballad Of Death and "Obsession” are really dreaming and spacey with quite fast bass drum. Anyway, the arpeggios are the most important element in it with some excellent clear choirs: very epic. Check the martial “Warcry”, with great vocals…so screamed , followed by truly heavy tempo. The more acoustic middle break is great, just in the background and the vocative final part.
A perfect album to celebrate in 1999 the coming of a new millennium made of obscurity and totally lifeless. One of the gloomiest albums ever done in black metal. True dark art.