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Under Sort Sol - 75%

Demiror_Moritur, May 19th, 2017

This really is the type of black metal I can deservingly appreciate. You know a black metal album is convincingly solid when both the musicianship and the ideology behind the band give the genuine feeling of being authentic to the listener, and that's definitely the case with Dødsritual's Under Sort Sol.

The band has all-in-all been around (under three different names) since 1993, thereby making it a shame that only now they were able to release such a fantastic album, since it would probably have seen a lot more (deserved) recognition back in their formative period, simply due to how the national scene was just starting to blow up as a whole at the time, but perhaps it is precisely the passage of time what the band needed to come up with something of this caliber.

This album sounds creepingly majestic and evocatively grand without ever being (too) pretentious, and its frantic and dark melodies make for an overall occult atmosphere that really pulls you in, something pretty uncommon with today's black metal releases, since they all tend to sound fake and plastic, and the performances generally lack any sort of spirit or feeling. Also, they are usually phoned-in for the sake of putting out generic trash that unknowing fans of the genre will consume nevertheless. We are able to luckily witness the opposite here, as each track can stand on its own for its particular merits, and even the album as a whole works well, having different stylistic passages throughout it, each exploring different ideas, but without the pointless wankery or absurd teen-ish “experimentation” other contemporaries seem to love.

The drums are mid-paced to fast throughout the album, their tempo depending on the track, but sound generally potent without being overpowering. The guitars sound cold and the riffs are evil and seem to be well-thought out, as the guitar and bass melodies make for a nice combination, creating a surrounding, dark wall of sound. The vocals deserve praise on their own, since they are fantastic. The changing tonalities and vocal styles really make the different parts of the album stand out, and convey a wide array of emotions throughout it, and even the always risky spoken-word passages are fittingly included in the mix, a somewhat rare occurrence in black metal.

I am happy to have come across this band, since it is not easy to find such quality music today. The album does have its flaws in my opinion, primarily due to it being sort of slow sometimes and a little too drony at times for my taste, yet this I can easily overlook in favor of the positive aspects of such a good release. Definitely give this record a listen if you are a fan of Norwegian black metal.