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A Monument to What Never Was - 94%

IrishDeathgrip, March 19th, 2008

Alright, all flaws aside (I'll get to those in a second), let's take a look at what we have here. We have two studio tracks that were recorded with Dead. Dead. Who was it? It was Dead. The guy who most folks end up talking about when they have a long-winded talk about black metal. I don't care where you start from, if you spend long enough talking about black metal, you'll always end up at Dead. So, love him or hate him, you'd better respect (if you're a black metal fan, at least) what he's done for the community. His image and vocals have influenced many that have come after him.

That being said, this is a treasure in it's valuable rareness. Not rare in a physical sense (many people just download it, and the songs are available in a couple of other places) but rare in what it entails. It's the testament to what could have been, if he had just chilled out about being dead. Why couldn't he have waited another year or two?

Now, onto the music itself. Freezing Moon... well, it starts off great, but something about the first little bit makes you uncomfortable, and you aren't sure what. Then it dawns on you... the fucking drums! Each time the cymbal is hit, you shudder a little bit, because you realize the Bass drum and, well, the entire drumset to be honest tends to overshadow the rest of the instruments. The guitars come through, although you have to strain to hear specific strokes, but the bass guitar is virtually inaudible. I can't remember if Varg was playing on this one, or if he came later, but nice job, whoever you are! Nice job not getting your instrument heard!

Carnage, it's the same thing all over again. And since that song tends to be more drum-heavy to begin with, well... forget about hearing too much else.

But despite the mixing problems, the instruments sound so clean, so precise, and so well-meshed. There is none of the "kvlt as fvck" mentality in this studio that leads them to betray all thoughts of clean recording, these guys actually tried like hell to make an accessible recording. Despite the flaw in the drums it came out wonderfully. And the follow up was just as great, although without Dead, I wonder how much better it could've been.

And speaking of Dead, our black-metal-martyr, what about his vocals? Well, my friends, if you loved Live in Leipzig, then you'll more than likely be astounded by what he can do when he's not forced to cut himself for attention on stage... the vocals are fantastic. No drop-outs. Nothing uneven. Alot of people can't stand his voice as heard on Leipzig, but if they heard this, they might think twice about writing him off as "overrated."

All in all, it's a great single, and it's a great piece of black metal history. It also can be used as an arguing point. "Dewd, liek, why do u liek Dead so much?... he wasn't verry good, and he wasn't even on a album!" You can pull this out and say "Listen and recant, bitch." Because, after all, who wouldn't like to rub this in a naysayers face?