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Propagating Monuments of Hate - 83%

opprobrium_9, September 30th, 2006

This album is a supreme debut for this band. I have liked what I have heard ever since this album; these guys really know what they are doing. There is a very eclectic feel to the way these guys make music, many non-specific influences from many places in metal. Overall this work is a stand alone masterpiece, but I don't think it will ever be recognized as a landmark.

First off, Massemord are one of the only bands I know of that can pull off the use of a drum machine. They don't just pull it off, they conquer it. There is a sense of grace about how they approach this "instrument." They do not try to make the drum machine sound real in any sense; on the contrary, they seem to capitalize on the synthetic sound of it. And this is where they succeed where no other band does when using the drum machine. Somehow it helps and enhances the music; even though the band capitalizes on the drum machine’s synthetic origins, it brings in mental and emotional veneers of organic sonance. This is something you will never find, but somehow these guys do it with the utmost finesse. I always find myself reeling in mental visuals of dark forests, and such, when listening to Massemord (an element which can really only be brought by organicity). There is one complaint of mine that does sometimes come up when listening to Massemord drums though. That is sometimes the synthetic nature of the ride cymbal can be fucking annoying as hell, but when taking the music, as a whole, into account it generally is outweighed.

Setting aside this unique production and divine use of such a synthetic instrument, I must speak of the actual programming itself. When one thinks of well programmed drum machines, one might reference Xasthur or one-man-band era Forgotten Tomb. However, Massemord crushes Xasthur and, if not betters, at least equals, Forgotten Tomb in terms of the programming. Some of the drumbeats are extremely creative and very well orchestrated; not to mention that all of the drums meld with the music flawlessly. The band must take into account the emotions they are accessing with each drumbeat, because there is a perfect flow between the riffs and the drums.

Now on to the riffs. FUCKING INCREDIBLE. There is violence, there is atmosphere galore, there are some crushing heavy riffs, and riffs screeching hatred. Absolutely no direct influences to be drawn here, more or less original and stand alone. Some might argue differently, but I see nothing similar to specific bands, per say. Like I said earlier, the band is very eclectic. They seem to draw their riffing from many places in metal. I see influences from Heavy Metal, Speed Metal, Thrash, and early Doom, and obviously Black Metal. However, Massemord has a way of coercing each riff into being blackened in some way, regardless of where that riff is drawing its influence. The band changes riffs a lot and this is also something to be noted, also a great aspect of this album: LOTS OF VARIETY (drums and guitar/bass)! While the bass isn't audible all the time, the album doesn't seem to need it because the atmosphere conveyed is so incredibly effective.

Now on to the divine entity that is the Synth. We have here such epic synth lines as would adorn the works of Summoning. I just wish there was more to be heard. The riffing is so diverse and usually changes paces a lot and one tends to focus more on the riffs and drums than the synth. When the synth really slays one will hear it, and one wants it to prolong and perpetuate, there just seems to be no equal in those moments on the album. Of course, on Massemord's second full-length, there is much more synth work. While I regard their second effort a better album overall, I don't think the synth work compares to the level of dark divinity that they reach on this album. Even though it is sparse, it is to be noted and it is one of the crowning achievements of this work.

A very good piece of black art. I wouldn't call it perfect, it has some flaws, but they are not even noteworthy. Anyone into black metal will thoroughly appreciate this album as well as the band's second effort. These guys have their own sound and hopefully they will keep doing what they are doing, because it works. This is not something I would say is anything to further the genre, but "Skogen Kaller" is a great slab of music.