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BlackenedSally, August 13th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2006, CD, Icarus Music

Well, having listened to the horrible Regain remaster first -luckily a friend's copy, not my own- and hating it for the thin and bright way in which it sounded, I decided to get the original 2005 release, with original, untouched sound, because I knew this collection of songs was great, or at least the ones I had heard them play live from it, were absolute corkers. It is incredible the undeserved flak this great album got from especially.....DF fans themselves ! While metal reviewers around the globe gave it solid horns ups, the fans seemed to universally hate this in style, substance, and sound. I dare to disagree, and will expand on it until your eyeballs fall from their sockets, or you fall asleep from boredom, whatever comes first (kidding here of course).

One of the main criticisms was the change in style; no such thing really. If anything,this one is a fiercer,faster, relentless, and longer (by some 10' more than your average DF album, which I loved) Maybe the musicianship has been a tad simplified in favor of the increased aggressiveness, but it did work, and was worth my while, big-time. Detractors say no substance, yet the lyrics are the least cheesy the band have ever penned, and this, together with the music, accomplished what few other BM albums have, and that is nothing less than making me feel as if I were in hell for the duration of it. The level of perceived evil and discomfort is so high, I was afraid The Pinhead was going to come for me at any time, as in the Clive Barker novel. Spooky, eerie, and I am not easily impressionable.

For those who say the mix is off, with vocals and drums overpowering the guitars, they are only partially right. This is completely true on the first two songs; I will give them that, and easily fixable by just cranking the treble control on your receiver a few notches, for it is more a problem of guitar tone than of volume, but the problem corrects itself for the remainder of the disc, except for the last track, where I had to raise the 4Khz slider on my equalizer by less than 2db to correct the problem. Sure; this defies the evenness with which the rest of DF's albums are recorded, at least the Tägtren-era ones I own, but they resorted to a different producer and studio for this one, because they wanted a different result. A prowess in itself considering how little these guys are for experimentation.

Vocals were criticized as being hoarse and flat; truth is Caligula's magnificent vocals were let to rear their beautifully ugly head in the mix for the very first time, and my guess is it is the new producer/studio where this was captured are to be grateful for. The drums do indeed sound different than on other albums, but hey, again, different producer, remember? The guy imparted his touch to them and the result has the same presence as the rest of DF's albums, no less, no more; they vary in sound, not in level, unless you have small speakers or puny amplification.

I cannot understand why so many people did not ¨get¨ this album, because I personally think it is one of their best. Man the opener alone ¨King Antichrist¨ is worth the price of the disc by itself with that trademark tremolo-picked riff they used for the intro. While I do not think I have reviewed the album here, I think I did a good job of defending it, and I feel someone ought to man up and write this at last. Naysayers will continue to diss this gem, preventing the punters from adding it to their collections. But if I can make one fella buy and enjoy it, it will have been worth the while I took to compose and write this.

Last but not least, H.R. Giger's screaming devil artwork on the cover does not look ¨constipated¨ (what a preposterous comparison, and yet more disgusting analogy). It is so good and so evil, every Harley out there ought to have it painted on their gas tanks. Get this milestone BM record or rot in hell bitches!