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A decent album that should've been better - 76%

Karamunga, August 25th, 2006

Slaughtersun is a good album. As in, above average, but not something you want to listen to all the time. It should have been a great album but, alas, due to some flaws, it is merely 'good'.

If this album was about 15 minutes shorter, it would get a score around the 85% mark. One of the (many) problems with modern metal is that there's a constant desire for everyone to be seen as being progressive and intelligent. And progressive and intelligent metal bands write long songs. Aside from the acoustic prelude to Ride the Wings of Pestilence, there isn't a track here that doesn't break the 8 minute mark. Two of them break ten minutes. I do not dislike long songs. However, it is my rather strong opinion that a song should be as long as it needs to be. These songs do not require this length.

The riffs, chord progressions and melodies in this album are fantastic. I am no connoisseur of black metal, but this is the sort of stuff I enjoy. There is melody here, but the melody isn't created with over-the-top keyboards that drown everything else out in the mix. Keyboards are implemented, but they're used sparingly to enhance the over-all feel of the music, rather than dominate the music. However, these wonderful riffs, chord progressions and melodies end up being repeated to the point that, by the time there's a change, you hate them. This is major flaw number one.

Major flaw number two is that most of the songs are a little too similar. A whopping total of three tempos are used, and about 70% of the album is in a 12/8 time signature. For me, this results in me rarely actually listening to the full album, because much of it just feels like the same song. The blast beats and tremolo picking never stops, aside from the occasional interlude.

As I say, it is still a good album, and for many reasons. Henke Forss has a fantastic vocal style for this type of music. He does not, for example, sound like Pop-Eye. Pretty much all of the songs here are about death. And not in a Cannibal Corpse “Lo, for I have a sharp object, listen whilst I tell you how I am going to use it upon you” way. More of a “This world is full of scum who do not deserve to live, and I am here to end it” way. And good old Mr Forss genuinely seems to be filled with spite and hatred as he unrelentingly screams into the microphone. His vocals are also articulate, and somewhat clear in comparison to many black metal vocalists.

The rest of the band give a stellar performance as well. The band play with a certain precision that is sadly all too rare in black metal. The aforementioned blast beats and tremolo picked melodies are executed perfectly. Another great thing is the production. It's clear, but still has that raw sound that is a necessity for this kind of music. The bass is audible, though you sort of have to concentrate to be able to consciously tell what's actually being played at times.

This album would be one of my all time favourites if it was shorter.

Highlights: Malediction Murder, The Knell and the World, Falcula