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Swedish black metal for dummies - 45%

Witchfvcker, January 19th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, 12" vinyl, Daemon Worship Productions (Limited edition, 2 colors)

In their ten years of existence the Swedish band Chalice Of Blood have released a demo and a couple of splits. It’s therefore understandable that they remain steeped in obscurity, a fact that’s likely to remain unchanged by the release of their first EP Helig, Helig, Helig. If Swedish black metal had an instruction manual, I would put money on Chalice Of Blood reading it back to back at regular intervals. As is par for the course, the members are anonymous and there is little available info about the band, although they still maintain a Facebook-page.

Kicking off the EP with a melodic bent, introductory track “Hoor-Paar-Kraat” retraces the muddy footprints of IXXI. This more melodious inclination is soon pushed to the background, however, as the meat of Helig, Helig, Helig is pure generic black metal marching under the banner of orthodoxy. Riffs are borrowed or adapted from superior acts, the blastbeats are too high in the mix, and the vocals are merely serviceable. As an example, the 7 minutes long “The Communicants” is built around a single, admittedly decent riff. What sounds like it’s building towards something potentially good, ends up with only a slight change of pace in the drumming around the five-minute mark, and limps towards a half-assed ending. Seeing as it’s been eight years since the band’s last new recording, this feels remarkably lazy.

The most aggravating aspect of Chalice Of Blood is that they are clearly capable black metal musicians, despite their complete lack of originality. Proclaiming oneself “orthodox” is hardly an excuse for reveling in musical clichés without bringing anything to the table, and as a result Helig, Helig, Helig is a completely redundant piece of black metal. Listeners with a craving for satanic Swedish sermons clearly have better options than Chalice Of Blood, including Ofermod, Funeral Mist, or even Marduk.

Written for The Metal Observer