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Havohej reigns - 90%

Pratl1971, February 17th, 2010

Paul Ledney goes back pretty damn far in the black metal scene, especially the United States scene. The mastermind behind Profanatica and co-founder of Incantation, Ledney issues the essence of audio evil with his first full-length since 1993’s Dethrone the Son of God. After a host of EP’s the latest offering is quite possibly one of the better black metal offerings by a U.S., band in some time. Upon hearing this CD, the first thing I think of is that very thin cusp between Bathory’s The Return and Under the Sign of the Black Mark. It’s unrelenting, vile, insane and drenched in evil in the exact formula that makes for a good black metal offering. I take great pride in being able to say that Kembatinan Premaster is what most of the black metal bands, stateside or otherwise, have failed to achieve over the course of the last decade or so.

The CD is a step forward, while not really changing the feel or sound of the Havohej dichotomy. In short, it’s the same thing ever-progressing, and if that seems a bit of an oxymoron it really isn’t. Havohej moves forward without relying on current trends or influences to dictate the terms of the music. The same sound from ten years ago is still a viable outlet if crafted in all the right areas. Ledney has long maintained that he is leaps and bounds ahead of this peers and he’s right. The simple truth of the matter is if you claim to be a black metal fan and you don’t like this release, then you simply don’t get it. It’s bold and grandiose to make such a statement, but it’s the truth. Black metal is hateful, self-loathing, combative, morose and brilliantly-dark music not made for everyone. Havohej is all of this and more, especially on Kembatinan Premaster in its entire somber splendor.

Clocking in at just under the 35-minute mark, the CD is a trip into the wicked mind of a man possessed by a desire to create some of the most unholy sounds imaginable. The Bathory influences aside, Kembatinan Premaster is the CD you play while lying on a bed in a dark room and just allowing the music to enter your body – that’s the essence of black metal music. It’s a journey into Hell, most evident on the track “Pious Breath.” Crude and akin to trudging through a murky swamp, this music finds its way into your psyche if you are so inclined to allow for such radical enlightenment.

The CD is amazing, brilliant, and important with the current collective of subpar garbage infecting the BM scene these last few years. As I said, if you sincerely understand the true black metal mind-frame then this CD cannot and should not be missed. What is sadly absent in the current existence of BM music can be found in the melodies of brutality and hatred contained through the visions of Paul Ledney.

Proceed with caution…it just might claim you.

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