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Yes, the review title is lame, but I coudln't come up with something better to sum up my feelings for "Masterpiss Of Pain", which is indeed Khold's devut album and I find pretty interesting.
Hailing from Norway and described by some as the manifestation of raw Black Metal's spirit transposed into the new century, Khold show the healthy attitude of refusing to fit any definition whatsoever. Yes, these guys are obviously into simplistic Black Metal. Yes, they show a modern sound and approach to their music. But "Masterpiss Of Pain" can be compared only with itself (or maybe its follow up "Phantom", which however I still have to hear).
Khold's sound is raw and stripped down, but by no means technically poor and old-fashioned, at all. Actually, "Masterpiss Of Pain" is as modern as it can get without sounding artistically misplaced. First, unlike many Black Metal bands, Khold use heavily downtuned strings, but don't fret - they're no Mortician, and you can clearly hear everything they play without blowing your ears (and speakers). Secondly, Khold mainly stick to slow and mid-paced tempos; the occasional blastings are there, but somehow the music sounds heavier on the slower sections while the blastbeats have a more light and trancelike effect. Khold have learned the Transilvanian Hunger lesson extremely well, apparently. Last but not least, the use of the bass as a melodic instriment kept pretty high in the mix, the results being amazing and extremely interesting as the album unfolds.
The opening track, "Nattpyre", exemplifies this at its best: a slow, dark riff driven forth by a rough basic beat, two verses sang by Gard's acid and very personal voice, before the blasting / tremolo part kicks in, with the bass driving most of the melody, before the speed goes back down to its original pace; cleverly, the intro riff is played again but with the second half reversed, making it sound like a completely different tune, an old trick which never gets old (Eisregen have built a whole song, namely "Eisplalast", around it).
"Den Store Allianse" and "Norne" have more groove and sharpness, although none really stands out; it's "Svart Helligdom", with its slow and melancholic riff with most of the melody produced by the bass, the real winner of the first part of the album. "Rovnatt" (featuring Galder on guest guitar, although it doesn't really stand out) is a nice short blaster, making a nice contrast with the aforementioned track and the following, the doomish "Kaldbleke Hender", very grim and heavy in its slow motioned assault. "Bortvandring" brings the pace further down, an ominous desolate soundscape crafted through slow and bleak riffs. The quasi-title track "Mestervek av Smerte" (which would be the actual Norwegian form of the album title, if it wasn't for that "masterpiss" spelling which I never quite got) is probably the most aggressive song of the lot, with Gard sounding as angry as ever and even more prominent bass work from the now departed Eikind. The last pair of tracks ("Jol" and "Øyne i Arv") make a nice addition, but somehow fail to impress me as the rest of the material.
All in all Khold delivered a solid and very personal debut, well worth checking out while waiting for them to show up again.