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The rawest and angriest black metal album EVER! - 100%

LuoaR, May 5th, 2008

Ildjarn, aside from his ambient work, was always known as a misanthropic kinda loner in the Norwegian black metal scene. He only had a few people (such as Ihsahn and Samoth of Emperor) help him out and it seems he mostly kept to himself. But what did he hide all to himself? If his albums are any clue to his inner being, Vidar must've been one really angry guy!

Ildjarn's black metal albums are kinda hard to describe, and even when I try to, I don't think my words would do the work justice. Take the rawness and production of the lowest, filthiest Les Legiones Noires (Black Legions) bands from France, and mix it with some of the punk/oi elements of the mighty NS black metal juggernaut Absurd, and that's a vague idea of what Ildjarn's metal albums sound like. Really distorted guitars, fast repetetive drums, inaudible bass and really wrathful vocals, and riffs that repeat over and over. That's basically the Ildjarn formula. And it's worked out pretty well so far.

I've heard most of Ildjarn's full length metal albums except the S/T, and from what I've heard I must say that Strength and Anger is by far the rawest of the raw. It's even rawer and angrier than albums like Det Frysende Nordariket and Forest Poetry. Those albums had a very angry and raw atmosphere to them, and they also invoked images of Norway's dark natural wonders. Strength and Anger does none of that, and is simply like having your body smashed by a Panzer tank! Total annihilation of the audio senses!

Standout songs? NONE! You know why? Because this album should be digested as a whole. Although I can discern every song, to the untrained ear, it must all sound the same. And it kind of does sometimes! What I'm trying to say is, all the songs are great and of equal value and importance. But if I had to pick a favorite it would be Chapters 8 and 9 or 8, 9 and 10 in the re-issue. I've both the original and the Japanese re-issue. The only difference between the two is that in the Japanese re-issue they took out the two 15 minute or so ambient songs and cut track 8 into two different tracks, making 17 songs/chapters. The original only had 15 "chapters", 2 ambient tracks and "Interchange (which is the last song on the Jap-version)."

I never listen to the 2 ambient songs, but this album's metal material is so good that by themselves, they would make a perfect album minus the two ambient tracks (hence, the Japanese version).

All in all, honestly, this is not an album I can recommend to even black metal fans. There will always be those who say Ildjarn is a talentless, sloppy musician, but I beg to differ. This is not music meant for casual listening. You will either love it or hate it. There are probably some imitators of this kind of black metal nowadays, but for me, this is the standard, the masterpiece of this style of black metal. This is raw, primitive and hateful black metal at its best. If you can stand the repetitiveness and the awful production, buy this CD. If not, don't even dare to find it.