without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Opener Svartalfaheimr begins with very anthemic guitar and faint drums. The vocals are high-pitched shrieks, buried amongst the music. They fade in and out of the music and sound very disturbing. It's a brief opening song. Ljosalfaheimr sounds more downbeat in it's delivery. The same high-pitched vocals remain but the riffs are slower and more drone inspired. The vocals here sound very maddening. The way they are layered as well makes them sound even more hellish.
The production and sound on the cassette also helps to increase the atmosphere, with a subtle hissing underneath the guitars. The songs end quite abruptly as well and as third song Asaheimr kicks in; all you can do is buckle up for the ride. There are touches of ambience within the guitars but this is solo black metal at it's finest.
Fourth song Jotunheimr is a guitar laden instrumental, with plenty of feedback drenched riffs. It breaks up the unnerving atmosphere created by Moloch's screams. Fifth song Helheimr is another short blast of ambient black metal madness. Much like the rest of the tape, the guitars rule the roost, only diminishing slightly when the vocals kick. The bass and drums can be faintly heard in the background. This rounds off side 1 of the tape.
The second side features the other four songs. Vanaheimr carries on in the same format. Its running time is only just over a minute, so it feels a little like a second intro. Jotunheimr (pt. II) is the second instrumental on the tape. Much like Jotunheimr on the first side, the guitars carry it along with a consistent beat in the background from the drums. There are nice swathes of ambience and other instruments in the background of the song too though, signalling it out as a subtly different song.
En As I Dype Skogen is a Darkthrone Cover with a difference. It starts with what sounds like a programmed beat and the main melody is played on keys. This piece of music carries the ambient influences of Moloch and does away with the harsh black metal sound heard throughout the rest of the record. There are even no guitars heard on the song. The final salvo on this tape is the seventeen minute instrumental Microcosmos. A song inspired by the heavens above our heads. There are crashes of thunder amongst the orchestral ambience. This is a slow and relaxing piece of music though, which wouldn't be out of place on an exotic film score.
Even though this review is short compared to many of the ones I've done recently, it's worth noting that this release is another one that's difficult to categorise. Moloch has a habit of producing music differently with each release, and by doing so keeps things fresh and keeps listeners guessing.
For this release I am going to have to break down some of the album review into a song by song basis, because of the fact that there are different playlists for both the promo, and regular releases. Thus, the first two songs that I will speak of is Niflheimr, and Muspellsheimr.
Niflheimr/Muspellsheimr: The first track Niflheimr takes quite a while to get going...and it is a very quiet dark ambient track with minimalistic tendencies, and is very hollow, whispering sounding track. There is a droning bassline, that fades in and out, with some layered ambience, and has a nice depressive feeling to it. Seeing as Niflheim is the "Mist World" in Norse mythology, it is a very fitting title, and the music is just as aptly composed. Muspellsheimr is the land of fire, in Norse mythology. Another very long track, it once again takes some time to get moving. Unfortunately, it is a smoldering ember, and lacks the punch I expected from a song that should capture the rage of the sons of Muspel, who are to destroy Bifrost, and end all time.
The other tracks that are black metal, with depressive connotations, some songs with drum programs, others with minimal, and still other tracks with no drum work at all. Nonetheless, the tracks are very well produced, and the guitarwork is thick and full, and the vocals are excellent. Stylistic in the vein of Brocken Moon, Sergiy wails his anguish, and sounds great, not nearly as ear-splitting as he sounded on Eihwaz, and there is good reverb to the mix, that adds to the atmospheric guitar work. The riffs are simple, yet effective and sound very good; fitting in with all aspects of the metal tracks in the album.
The Darkthrone cover has very heavy synth, coupled with the drum machine and is much unlike the original song. The drums are light and fluffy, the synth is quite like Burzum's Hildskjalf era, and is not really that great. It doesn't fit at all with the dark, and foreboding atmosphere of the rest of the album.
The final track on the full length is a track called Microcosmos, a synthesizer-laden ambient piece with nice pseudo-orchestral progressions, with the omnipresent thundering of a storm in the background. This is a fantastic ending for this album, and if the Darkthrone cover track was not there, would be a well-rounded album incorporating excellent use of the realms of depressive style black metal, and dark ambient. Alas, the cover song throws too much of a wrench in the works and has derailed the train before it arrived at the last track. Sad, because the rest of the album is fantastic.