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Most bands that express their anti-religious views in their music while coming from a country in the Middle East have my respect. Considering the consequences of such acts in that territory, it takes some balls to say what they say. Iran's Halla is one of them.
Halla presses on in the raw anti-Islamic black metal of past releases, but there have been some changes. I'm hearing things a little more clearly on this one, which you can hear right from the start on the opening self-titled track. I haven't heard their Profanity demo, but while their split with Aurvandil had some low end in the drums, the rest was drenched in traditional lo-fi static. While the demo is still lo-fi and raw, everything is more audible which makes it a more enjoyable listen. The self-titled opening track is vicious and very Darkthrone inspired. As said before, the music is more audible, and the same goes for the vocals. Instead of hearing static, you can hear his actual voice, which sounds absolutely evil and tormented. The second and final track is a Darkthrone cover (big surprise), but the title has been translated to English. I'm not sure of the reasoning behind it, but thats not really important. Its a pretty good cover. Its sounds a little slower than the original, but its not bad at all. You pretty much know whats going to happen before you even hear it.
This is a good demo, but it is too short. And if it has to be a 2 track demo, its not a good idea to make them 1 original track and 1 cover track. This doesn't give the listener a good idea of what the bands sound like as a whole. Also, while the cover track is a good homage to Darkthrone, its kind of unnecessary. There are already loads of bands that do Darkthrone covers. Though it is kind of cool to hear it from a Middle Eastern band. I don't know. I kind of have mixed feelings about it. If there were more tracks to accompany it, it probably wouldn't bother me.
Other than that, its a solid demo and worth the listen. Support the underground and check it out.
Two songs are on this single and together they have a length of three hundred and ninety-five seconds; divided amongst the tracks in 2:1 ratio. «Evil» opens with the longer track of the two and one aspect becomes obvious from the beginning: the distortion of the guitars, which had been a band's characteristic on their earlier releases, does not appear in this degree anymore; hence the compositions have become more listenable. Yet, the whole concept of «Halla» was and still is to create pretty raw black metal, but in a way it is good and does not suck. It is astounding that a lot of bands have problems in mixing the music and getting the instruments balanced. «Halla» did a pretty fair job on this release, especially when considering the circumstances and the environment under which it had been recorded; bands from the ‘Western’ underground should take this as an example what can be achieved with the right amount of effort and motivation.
«Evil» and «Over mountains and through thorns», better known as «Over Fjell og gjennom Torner» by Darkthrone, are pretty neat to listen to and also the cover version is well played. In comparison with the original it has less of the icy and harsh sound but offers instead more volume and a better recognizable bass line. Further should it be mentioned that the distorted voice works fine with the song.
Well, «Halla» is certainly not for every fan of black metal, but certainly interesting for those who dig stuff the 'real' underground; yet, to lay hands on a copy of this piece might be difficult. This Iranian band should proceed the way they have started with this single, maintain the use of distortion in the compositions on the current level but keeping the rawness and aggressiveness still up high. Surprisingly, «Evil» is quite interesting to listen to.
Sawing tremolo riffs rip across an insistent texture of throbbing drums like a desert wind. A semi-human voice at once groans and screams blasphemy, sounding like it comes from the sky itself. The bleak throb of archaic thrash beats disassociates into a faltering, decaying break before exploding again, even faster than before, with rehearsal room production adding to the intense yet calculated rage portrayed. Vocals adhere to no rhythm and are more inflicted upon the music than working alongside it, with echo transforming each line into a blasphemous screech into an empty canyon. The traditional Norwegian sound of Darkthrone is reinterpreted with less patience and romance, turning the pseudo-melodic strains of their 'Transilvanian Hunger'-era material into something harsher, more rage-filled, and strangely sardonic. Riffs are pulled off in strips like meat off bones. A bass drum and snare form a hideous marching cadence under the chaos above.
Somewhere far away a mosque is burning.