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"Iron Maiden playing raw black metal?" - 100%

LuoaR, February 4th, 2009

I don't know how to give this album a positive review without saying what's been said about it already, but here goes. Despite the raw production of this release, there is actually some talented musicianship happening here. It's like hearing Iron Maiden if they played Black Metal. This album is dominated by superior musicianship and double melodic guitar attack, just like Maiden. The only thing really differnt from Maiden is Garm/Trickster G's vocals, obviously.

If there are any doubters that say black metal musicians can't write good riffs and melodies, I would beg them to give this album a listen. Just listen to all that intricate guitar work, which is driven by the dual guitar attack of Haavard and Aismal. There are some very interesting melodies and harmonies here, and most of the time it sounds like one guitar is playing one thing, while the other is playing something else; yet, combining to make a interesting riff. It brings to mind Iron Maiden material. The riffs are very raw, agressive, but VERY beautiful and melancholic. Ulver sets an example on how to have a double guitar attack in Black Metal and make it work. Aiwarikiar's drum playing is very consistent and not overdone. His work on this album is mostly snare blast beats set to a really fast pace. Oddly enough though, he has some good double bass kicks that are easy to hear despite the raw and hectic production. Aiwarikiar is comparable to a more technical and aggressive Fenriz from the Transilvanian Hunger days. Last but not least, let's get to Trickster G's vocals. To be honest, his vocal style doesn't impress that much but yet there aren't many black metal vocalists who sound like him either. Generic; yet not so generic. As for the bass, well to be honest, I can't hear it, but I can't hear bass in 98% of the stuff I listen to.

The production on this album, like most great raw black metal albums, is as tough as nails. Don't listen to this album if you don't like audio hisses, too much reverb, treble and feedbacks. But it is the album's production that gives this masterpiece the atmosphere it delivers. So what's the atmosphere like? Simple. Imagine standing alone in a great forest in a cold winter night with full moon abound and wolves howling and you get the picture.

Recommended for all Black Metal fans. If you don't have this you're missing out!

Standout tracks: IV, VI, VII