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The Power in Your Eyes... - 94%

Evershifting, December 3rd, 2017

Few things in life make you feel like children again. Terrified. Cold. Screaming. Behold the Dark Thrones of the Black Kings...

This is the ultimate black metal album; evil, cold, malicious and amazingly well put together. The only problem is it needs more cowbell.

Opening up with a storm of guitar noise "Natassja" is a runaway killer of a song; a thrall's ode to his dead witch, the viseral emotions brought forth by Fenriz's lyrics are beautiful in the bleakest way. The guitar tone here completely redefines the phrase "razor sharp guitars", this is one of the best guitar tones you will ever hear (try Burzum's "Burzum/Dunkelheit", Saint Vitus'" Zombie Hunger" or Judas Priest's" Victim of Changes" [on vinyl] for examples). Production is poor, noisy and hissing (courtesy of Ted's bad copy of Vader's Necrolust which is also really cool), the treble is basically like a wasp and it's only added to by the stripped kit and primitive drumming patterns, 4/4 eat your heart out. The bass is deliberately buried but still absolutely vital as it is in all metal, Ted really holds it together well and performs effectively without going into trying to compete for attention like on an Atheist album for example. The whole idea is atmosphere, the rhythm section and production used solely to meet that goal; drawing focus to Ted's perfect rasps and ever present, deadly riffs.

There are so many cool riffs that I want to talk about every song but that isn't allowed so I'll give a quick count through of my favourites: Natassja's main, all of "Infernal Fields" and the title track, and the alien sounding bridge for "Triangle". The quintessential riffs however have to go to the Magnum Opus of Zephyrous and favourite Darkthrone track of both Fenriz and I: "Inn I De Dype Skogens Favn". This is the most primitive song on here and probably the most basic you can go before you get to bedroom black metal made by kids that don't know how to write or let alone read music. The whole thing is held together by TWO yes TWO riffs; the brooding, slow moving main riff, the fast change over that seems to spin in your head and was totally stolen from Hellhammer's "Triumph of Death" but is amazingly recycled here. I don't understand the hate; it's like an intro for itself that builds up slowly. The hi-hats tick and hell breaks loose with the THUMP of the floor tom that's been ignored for the whole album just for this moment, I must say to excellent effect. The Hellhammer rip off riff immediately follows with drums hammering wildly trying to deny the clever theft. Finally for the closing passage Fenriz brings back the riff crushing double floor tom idea used on the previous album to cover up death metal riffs. Except here this is a black metal riff and the double floor tom is used to ramp up the heaviness until your skull breaks.

Highlights: most tracks of this record are hailed as some of the best black metal ever made, rightly so. A quick few examples include "Under a Funeral Moon" with it's raw, suicidal lyrics and grim tremolo really speaks to the depressive force in us all. "Unholy Black Metal"'s furious charge and hateful curses towards the christian menace, is perfect for playing to oneself whilst walking across a churchyard, giving a burning (no pun intended) desire to continue the work of Varg, Euro and crew. And "Crossing the Triangle of Flames" even for black metal this is weird and supremely dissonant; alienated, otherworldly harmonies surge throughout the lifeblood of this champion song of dismay.

1993 is usually remembered as a terrible year for metal with hyper derivative nu and groove shite beginning to steam out the walls. However it is saved in part by this album, as proved by the sheer number of people that only turned up to Wacken 2004 to see Ted on stage with Satyricon playing just the title track of this record. The only bad thing about that performance was threat it had to be dedicated to the incredible Quorthon, who sadly passed away earlier that year.

Rest in Peace you Norse God of Music.