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As cold as death - 90%

okkvlt, April 14th, 2007

What makes this album special is the pure unadulterated black metal that these Norwegians managed to create. This album reeks of nihilism (a dead man’s guitar hovering over the basslines of his murderer) and misanthropy with brutal riffing and drumming and the insane vocals. Besides that the circumstances in which this album was released with the murder of Euronymous and various other events in Norway makes this album an important milestone as this album was released at the peak of the Norwegian black metal movement.

Attila’s vocals are simply insane. Initially the vocals sound ridiculous but later as you get the hang of it, you’ll feel that it is pretty much appropriate for the kind of feelings that this album attempts to evoke. These mad operatic vocals blend with the music to create a cold atmosphere. Themes of death, decay, the supernatural dominate the lyrics. The lyrics show extreme apathy towards life and all that it considered normal and construct a morbid atmosphere and finds beauty in it.

The riffs in this album are simple yet awesome as the songs are pretty much riff oriented. Do not underestimate these simple tremolo drenched riffs as they achieve cohesion with the vocals and the lyrics. The drumming is brutal and exceptional with machine like precision.

This album very well captures the aesthetics of black metal. It is cold, dark, misanthropic and brutal. Every song of this album is important to create such atmosphere. The sound is further developed from that in 'Deathcrush' as it is atmospheric achieves higher level of complexity. This is a monster of an album which set the standards for later bands. But I haven’t seen a more nihilistic album than this.