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Talent, you just can't buy it! - 90%

Richard Whackner, February 23rd, 2022

Don't you just love it when you buy some used records for almost no money and one of them turns out to be absolutely spectacular, haunting you for many months to come? Varied, almost technical Black Metal with a dignified purity to it? Count me in, sir! I paid more for a candy bar than for this album and I'm most certainly going to enjoy the sugary treat a lot less. Take that, capitalism! The dumb cover did promise simple chords and stagnant drumming and turned out to be an enormous liar. Frostbitten pants on fire! That's what I live for, fellas! Ah, a fresh wind after all the horseshit of ridiculously untalented knock offs without the decency to compose any actual addictive music. If I had a bullet belt, I would pet it like a dog right now.

Of course, the first names that come to mind while listening to this thing are some big ones: Immortal, Gorgoroth, Hades, Bathory, Abigor and Naglfar. Someone listened to the greats in his childhood bedroom a lot and formed a band after a while to extract the main ingredient: Raw, atmospheric shit out of the abyss of darkness, anger and despair. These germans are excellent thieves, or rather vengeful copy cats without the ability to hide their beloved influences. But here is the thing, folks: After countless spins of this lack of innovation and progression, I have come to the conclusion that it does not matter. At all. These sports are (were?) the kind of underground band that leaves every collector of the cause with a raging hard on in front of his stereo. They are just...good. Let me get into detail about this silly but yet oh so true verdict, my friends. These guys desire (desired?) to play the same kind of black metal that oh so many (too many) of other bands all around the planet at that specific moment in time did, but compared to a lot of atmospheric fuck ups or derivative riff craft of the musical scum, these bastards are (were?) quite talented.

The thick, pleasant sound with enough teeth to gnaw on your buttocks for all eternity is a nice extra, but the professional songwriting takes the crown. No fillers to add unnecessary fluff to the runtime, no intermezzo bullshit, no keyboard theatricals and most certainly no hulked up attitude of bored to death teenagers that oh so often choose to change their style to Industrial Gothic after surviving a turbulent adolescence. No, the fathers of this recording just wanted to go ahead and have "fun" (you know, in a twisted, norsecore kind of way!) in the most ambitious way possible. Sometimes, just being "good" is all a band needs to steal some hearts, believe me. This record is (was?) no legend in the making, no. But this stuff, technical and palatable at the same time, took some time to compose and still feels like a short interval of a raging misfit caught on tape. Delicious! Chunky rhythm guitars with a catchy punch are often accompanied by the typical but still wonderfully fresh sounding downward spirals of norwegian disharmony. Sounding pissed and reserved at the same time, they employ a lot of the classic imagery of Bands after the 90s were dead for only a few years. No real change in elaboration, but a clear view in terms of praising ones artistic ancestors. The symphonic heralds of the late 90s tried and failed, its time to pick up a goddamn guitar again. "Heretical Inspiration" sounds incredibly riffy, as if it tries to apologize for all the cheap keyboard accomplishments of nothingness in other realms. Personally, I don't mind some choirs or strings to enhance the flavor of my Black Metal, I grant you that. But "Heretical Inspiration" does not make me miss any of it. Penetrate me, mister Satan, I beg you. No spit needed!

And yet, catchyness is on its way, not to go away for the whole ride. How is it possible to sound so true and yet so charmingly endearing? Talent, that's why, let met assure you! Prepare to grin when the Immortalesque beeswarms join forces with the goddamn asskicking of Belphegor's heaviest whacks. Quite a combo, my empty heart approves! Heartfelt musicians can kick you in the throat no matter which style they choose to play. Thank the gods, someone introduced these guys to some Marduk before the cool uncle with his Frank Zappa collection got a chance to intervene. No hate in regards to Mister Zappa, but he better get out if this particular kitchen! The drummer alone deserves a big portion of the praise, his direct and straight forward approach makes absolutely no fuss about the many creative fills and changes he uses quite often, as if they were just another way of going forward and no acoustic pause or variation for tired listeners. It's a joy to hear him beat the everloving shit out of his cymbals without trying to impress you, he is not showy but a servant of the show. Natural flow does not get any better than this, sweet ass mother Mary! You go ahead, man! Playfully pound that shit like there is no tomorrow! Yehaw! Ehem, "Hail Satan" is what I meant. It's just his way and we should be thankful for it.

The vocals, greatly integrated into the general show without stealing the spotlight, sound as hateful as a frosty carcass of eternal frosty carcassery. On point, varied, sometimes doubled, always intense. Did someone call for clean singing? Get the fuck out of my house, princess! No whining to be found here. Tonight we scream and rasp in delight. These guys even like to throw in the occasional guitar solo, what more do you need to hear, huh? This record rocks, get this thing, open up a beer, light some shit on fire, write a new poem about tanks and torches for your imaginary vampiric girlfriend. This is pure passion, with enough savagery for lonely nights and enough flair to long for the clouds. Nothing new, but everything in place.