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Best True Black for 2010 - 100%

Dr_Zed, July 9th, 2011

Thor's Hammer Productions rightly called this full-length debut from the Netherlands (South Holland) "black metal album of the year." However, I am adding that this Scandinavian-influenced, true black metal (no keys, symphonic, female, insane, or clear vocals), is also the very best dark, fast, true black metal full-length ever produced! This melodic, yet raw masterpiece surpasses them all, since the inception of black metal.

Haatstorm has a relentless, ancient, black metal feel that stands in a class of its own, as for example Taake, whereas Zwartplaag does not sound like the Taake horde. Haatstorm presents a new, unique brand of melodic, spine-tingling darkness using buzzing guitars. The epic-sounding lead guitars have not been heard like this since Sacramentum's "Far Away From the Sun," all the way back to 1996, yet Zwartplaag do not sound much like the Sacramentum horde.

All the music on Haastorm makes you feel like you are experiencing a mass grave site, as one of the best tracks suggests "Imperial Death March". Every track (except the intro and outro) has memorable riffing and a new, unique, very dark, black metal feel that far surpass everything for the genre. The bass, drums, guitar and vocals perfectly fit together for each track, and create the tightest horde for a debut. Each musician is already one of the best in his class.

Heiden's Hart jointly released Haatstorm with Thor's Hammer. Only label-mate Cultus, on "A Seat in Vahalla" has any of the special, unique sounds of Haatstorm, yet Zwartplaag do not sound like Cultus. The production is of the highest quality, yet dark black metal rawness strongly comes through the entire CD. A perfect hour long LP that you will not get tired of, with less than a minute of crap between the Intro and Outro.

It is very fitting that Zwartplaag and Faagrim (Christhunt) have since produced a 2011 split on Thor's Hammer Productions "United Wolfish Hordes" both horde's previous offerings producing what I designate as the number one full-length true black CDs for 2010 and 2009, respectively. A final note, the CD cover has the usual embedded female body parts, but Haatstorm's deserve special mention, surpassing those of Black Horizons (2nd LP), Hat (1st LP), and Purest LP covers for this seldom-mentioned feature of the genre—100%.