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A melodic, yet intense masterpiece - 98%

larsen, August 25th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, CD, Independent (Limited edition, Digipak)

I'm among those who often prefer not to take risks and who stick to the very good albums which were released around twenty or twenty five years ago, when black metal was not widespread and a trend. The bands mainly played the music which came from their heart, or most likely from the depths of their tormented souls. Among them were already some excellent German bands, like Nagelfar, whose first album was impressive and original, Grabnebelf├╝rsten with their mix of catchy heavy elements and black metal, or more recently, Aaskereia or Pest with their really dark touch.

In spite of my overall preference for old bands and albums, I try every once in a while to open up and to give it a try to the newest bands. The technical revolution enables us to be aware of some of the most obscure releases. I came across Magoth's first album through Youtube, just like many other bands I discovered these last few months. However, I forgot the vast majority of them quite fast. There are some others which I would even have wished never to listen to. Due to my recent past experiences I was very prejudiced and even skeptical when I pressed the start button to listen to what this new German band had to offer.

After just a couple of seconds I was almost carved in stone by the intense beauty of this gem. A rare fact occurred next when I listened to the entire album at once and a unique fact happened just a couple of seconds later when I couldn't control myself and when I instantly ordered their masterpiece. This should give you an idea of how much I like this album. I couldn't even believe that a new band was still able to release such a powerful, yet melodic album. Everything is perfectly blended here. This opus has a unique atmosphere in spite of some clear Norwegian and Swedish influences. The cover itself already pushes you in the dark enchanted world of Magoth. The snowy backgrounds reminded me immediately of Immortal's fifth album, while the hooded specters wandering in the mountains are very close to the ones on Dark Funeral's first full length.

Through the entire length of the nine tracks this mixture of influences is present, but what makes Magoth being apart is the band's unique sound and atmosphere combined to an impressive maturity. The songs are all freezing cold like the best Norwegian albums, but at the same time, they are extremely melodic and dark just like the best Swedish bands. The vocalist definitely sounds like Throne of Ahaz. In fact, if we pay more attention to this album, it is much closer to Swedish black metal than to Norwegian black metal. At some points, I even had the impression to listen to a brand new album of Throne of Ahaz. Since this band also has a real personal approach to music, this is even more impressive. You get caught immediately in the web of the never ending meanders of Magoth's sombre world.

The songs might be quite similar to each other, but the band managed to make it so that they are still different enough to captivate the listener's attention. The very particular atmosphere and the professional quality of songwriting, combined to an excellent sound for a low budget release are all the ingredients for a masterpiece. Don't hesitate, this is maybe the album of the year. It would be a sin not to buy it.

Generic, competent and exciting - 88%

Felix 1666, July 22nd, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, CD, Independent (Limited edition, Digipak)

As a German metalhead, I take pride in the words: Germany is the European metal fortress. It has a long history in terms of thrash metal, it has always been a good breeding ground for traditional metal and it delivers more or less constantly strong black metal works. Grabak, Eternity, Grabnebelf├╝rsten, there are too many to mention them all. Magoth join the unholy legion with their first full-length. The band originates from the contemplative Bonn which was the capital city of West Germany only because Adenauer, the first chancellor after World War II, did not want to leave his familiar environment. But the comparatively comfortable origin does not mean that the dudes are unable to raise hell. Indeed, the fantastic artwork does not promise too much: the newcomers have a knack for intensive, sometimes atmospheric and pristine black metal.

"Anti Terrestrial Black Metal" is characterised by dense, encompassing guitar leads which combine a cold atmosphere with a relatively melodic yet totally black approach. This is no pretty childish "war black metal", I am speaking about a band that has a talent to integrate some sinister harmonies without hurting the guidelines of the frosty genre. The hence resulting overall impression is not based on bestiality or barbarism, but on permanent malignancy. Although the production is not blurred in any way, it conveys a sulphurous smell. Many debuts of the genre would have been valorized by such a sound, nevertheless, there is also a minor flaw. The vocalist has to fight a hard struggle in order to hold his own ground against the instrumentalists. In other words, this publication boasts with a very good, but not perfectly balanced production.

Fervour, conviction and uncompromising clarity are essential ingredients for each and every black metal album - and it makes me happy that Magoth deliver these features in abundance. Their material finds the thin way between laudable homogeneity and necessary variety. I do not know whether the dudes love to drink blood, to kiss animal cadavers or to celebrate black masses at full moon, but they definitely do not like to fill their songs to the brim with surprising twists and turns or innovative attempts. Do not expect experimental self-realisation and do not fear narcissistic nonsense. Just enjoy the very competent implementation of the genre-typical songs which are not based on the conventional verse-chorus-verse pattern. They are more cleverly designed. For example, well embedded tempo changes ensure a dynamic sound and make up for the lack of innovation. And who the hell cares about innovations at all? For example, broad parts of the Chinese industry do not even know the term while taking the markets by cheap and solid imitations. I am not from China, but I also think that no one needs to reinvent the wheel. The result is mostly crap. I prefer the alternative of new and inspiring songs which walk on well-trodden paths (without being a slavish imitation, of course). As long as they are cleverly crafted, everything is fine for me.

So you guessed it, Magoth deliver exactly this kind of songs. Sometimes slightly repetitive, sometimes with a few standardized parts, but nevertheless very strong. I think that there are some influences of the veteran Swedish flagships Marduk, Dark Funeral or Setherial. Not the worst inspirations, if I am not mistaken. But maybe the band itself is wrong. The Germans say that they reveal their real strength at a live performance, but this is almost unbelievable when facing the storms that their studio recordings unleash. No doubt, the beauty of classic brutality is still amazing. And with that said, it is just a great pile of shit that such talented bands are often overlooked by doubtlessly deaf talent scouts of the music companies. Magoth have therefore to start realistically with the pressing of ridiculous 200 copies. From this perspective, the title of the album is well chosen, because who wants to live in this abhorrent world where seemingly no one wants to spend the money for highlights like the multifarious opener "Cleansing of the Ancient Spirits", the relentless "Indoctrination War", the irascible "Cosmic Termination" or "Mental Fortress" with its flickering lines? Anyway, this provides a good opportunity to swim against the tide. As a consequence, I am the proud owner of no. 74 who recommends this album to everybody who likes to dive into the spiritual spheres of traditional black metal.