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Wow, I'm the first to write a review of this? If this is not the epitome of black metal, it certainly comes close. The atmosphere here is quite incredible - a result of the production and the riff work, combined with some downright insane vocals, that are dark as Hell while remaining PERFECTLY comprehensible. Yes, when spreading your message about the general totally coolness of Satan, it helps if the listener actually understands you.
We start with "The Devil and the Whore" - this is almost slowed-down speed metal. Not QUITE thrashy enough to be thrash, but still, the riffs are there. The guitar tone is vicious - total buzzsaw effect. Some people hate this production, but it is crystal clear, just quite distorted. Nothing is "blurry" or improperly buried in the mix. Everything comes through with purpose, and that purpose is evil.
Then, "Blackened" - my favourite song on here. This is total thrash metal. Not very fast at the beginning, but nonetheless, the riffs are definitely something out of the first Artillery demo, the Sabbath influence worn proudly. "PAAAIIINNN!!!!" Prepare to be bludgeoned, while the most vile blasphemies are delivered to you in such a way that you'll find yourself humming them the next day. The song is perfect for headbanging for seven minutes - it is long without being overlong. Starts off brutally midpaced, and then by the end gets really fucking fast and gives you nice fucking whiplash.
Then, we have more in this vein: "The Oath", "Slaying the Nazarene", and "The Heretic". The intro riff to "The Oath" is total Tony Iommi worship in style but not in actual content - where did Chorazaim come up with something that original, and that incredibly memorable???
"Blackened (The Circle Complete)" is followed by the epic "Across the Shores". This is a very cool combination of doom and thrash - again, total Sabbath in the riff work, and you are forced to headbang whether you like it or not. Oh yes, and of course all sorts of happy little lyrics about dancing elves can be found too, not to mention the greatest drum triplet since Raining Blood.
Then, we have two covers: "Violence and Force" and "Take This Torch". Both of them are speed metal classics, and thus they are definitely the fastest songs on this album. They are very well executed, especially "Take This Torch", which is given a new dimension of evilness - the original Razor song sounds like it's about escape, while the Megiddo version is more about being passed the torch, and congrats, Satan's got you too.
The outro is just that - one final blast of evilitude. So what do I like about this album? The fact that it is tr00 and nekr0 and all that? Hah, fuck that. It is GOOD!! It has great atmosphere and monster riffs. If you want something that Black Sabbath could have come up with if they had stepped out of the crack haze for a bit and actually strung the lyrics together into competent songs - then combined with thrash riffs to force headbanging unto death - this is the album for you. Fans of old Sodom, Hellhammer, Bathory - Venom too, and also fans of Razor, Sacrifice. Hell, everyone can find something that they'd like about this. So quit being a poseur and bitching about how the production doesn't allow you to take the band seriously. If you cannot get into the atmosphere, try looking past it. You'd probably find it far more enjoyable if you let yourself.