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Belligerent - 92%

Milo, May 14th, 2006

Yet another lost death metal gem. Before disbanding in 1997, Molested recorded Stormvold, the only sucessor to their underground classic Blod Draum, which is said to be one of the most rewarding death metal albums ever recorded, by those who listened to it. Here we see the band getting stronger, offering an excellent, heartfelt effort.

The most glaring character of Stormvold is the real war-like atmosphere. No need to find other word to describe it, it’s just...real. In this album, Molested fuses an extremely violent old-school death metal attack (led by some excellent tremolo-picked riffs) and an audible melodic black metal influence that provides a duality of atmospheres for the listener. Although I didn’t have acess to the lyrics, I had the impression I was on the morning of a war, lands ablaze, forward advancing legions, weapons roaring. The epic melodies sounded like the victory hymns, congratulating the soldiers who remained alive and those who died for glory.

The production is a step-up from Blod Draum. This EP has a bit less of “low-end” than its predecessor (whose produtcion was similar to Nile’s Black Seeds of Vengeance). Fortunately, the changes didn’t detract anything from Stormvold’s atmosphere. The super dissonant blastbeats are still dominant, as are the commanding vocals. But this time around, the guitar parts are easier to listen to, and that’s great because there’s some top-notch work here.

The guitar riffs are highlighted by a carefully produced guitar tone, sometimes similar to the used on Sacramentum’s masterpiece, Far Away From the Sun. Listen, for example, to the lead riff in “Following the Growls” and how it seems to convey the cold winds. There’s also a lot of evil riffage: 1:10 of “Wolves of Graven Hate” delivers us a riff that would make Morbid Angel proud. The album is an example of ordered chaos: Loud, dissonant drums and vocals, complexity and unbridled rage cooperate to create an effort that should be listened to closely.

As for the drums, they are on par with the riffage in sustaining the rhythm and in providing variety. Along with the blasts, simpler patterns are used to provide a stronger sense of dynamic to the music. Erlend Erichsen has also good double-kick technique and his cymbal work can provide some surprises. Production-wise, the sound of the kit is thundering and the EP is an instance where the “machine-gun sounding kick drums” can be used.

These five tracks are all excellent. “The Usurper’s Winterblood” introduces you to the epic characteristics of this EP. “Fogflames” is probably the highlight. A fast number that has the clearest BM influences. “Pyre at the Tarn” delivers some high-pitched, exciting DM riffs by the end. It’s also the most straightforward song, relying more in melody and less blasting.

All in all, Stormvold excels both technically and in developing atmospheres for those who dedicate to it the amount of listens needed. Belligerent in a natural way, creator of realistic imagery and owner of what we can call “soul”, this EP deserves room in any death metal lover’s collection.