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Darker than you Think - 80%

BlackThrashAttack, May 3rd, 2007

Here's proof that you can (somewhat) modernize the sound of true black metal without losing all credibility and authenticity. While not deviating from the norms of black metal to an extreme extent, "Cold Void Journey" has a very fresh sound and feel that puts a whole different spin on the material presented.

The standout feature of this release is the precision and thick, full sound of the drums. Some fills are played with slight slips, but nothing so prominent as to drag down the song at all. Beats are played with the maximum amount of flair that they possibly could be to create very interesting patterns without stealing the show. Blast beats and standard double bass beats can be found here, but not in excess and usually include interesting crash symbol patterns to keep the flair of the song running strong. Bass drums are played with perfect accuracy and precision, never missing a beat. In the faster songs, double bass is played at breakneck speed, along the lines of some of the drum work done by Hellhammer, primarily in later Mayhem albums, and Frost's work in 1349.

Songs range from ultra fast and absolutely crushing to slow, gloomy, eerie dirges, but the majority are faster and more aggressive. One of the great features of "Cold Void Journey" is that the quality of songwriting does not seems to vary with tempo - slow songs do not wear out their welcome and are just as interesting as the faster songs.

Guitars sound almost as rich as drums, maintaining range and clarity, but somehow preserve a touch of the raw abrasiveness found on such old classics as
Gorgoroth's "Antichrist" and Satyricon's "Nemesis Devina" that other bands with a cleaner sound do not have, like Carpathian Forest. Bass guitar follows the rhythm guitar closely, but is more pronounced than usual. Like many aspects of this album, it is not overdone and does not ever take over the music.

Vocals are lower in the mix than drums, registering closer to the level of the guitars, but are produced with an abnormally raw sound. The typical black metal rasp is used, but is much rawer and sounds something like blasts of static at times, creating a very cool feel and supplementing the music very well.

Having no major shortcomings, the only thing that "Cold Void Journey" suffers from is an all around, although not tremendous, lack of songwriting ability. Songs are often slightly incoherent and transitions from riff to riff are sometimes noticeably awkward, leaving more to be desired. Although Hiems does not come off as unauthentic, the music is not entirely convincing all the time.

In conclusion, "Cold Void Journey" is worth buying (especially if you think rich production quality is a plus) and promises a lot for a future release. If the CD is not available in stores (like in my city) I recommend ordering the CD through the Moribund Records online store for a good price and reliable service.