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Intense - 90%

Mateilkrist, April 8th, 2012

It’s unbelievable that two of the musicians responsible for the creation of Zyklon’s second and third full-length snoozefests are also the songwriters behind this extreme metal gem. Superior Massacre is Myrkskog’s second full-length, and this time around the band manages to forge an immense slab of death metal that sounds quite unique when compared to the rest of Norway’s ever-expanding death metal scene. Originating as a pure black metal band, Myrkskog released an odd demo or two before 2000’s black/death/industrial-ish hybrid Deathmachine. While that album certainly had its moments, Superior Massacre is by far the band’s most memorable achievement and has kept fans anxious for a worthy successor since its release ten years ago. It’s quite a shame that Zyklon will forever be the band most commonly associated with Destructhor and Sectdamon, as this album (and honestly, Myrkskog in general) truly brutalizes and disposes of everything Zyklon has done post-World Ov Worms.

Production-wise, this album is MASSIVE. The drums are upfront and pummeling in the mix, which is by no means a bad thing. Guitars are quite low-end heavy and razor-sharp in modern death metal fashion, with every note and twisted harmonic shining through. I wish there was more to be said of the bass, but the only time it becomes audible is Gortheon’s merely seconds-long bass solo in Domain of the Superior. It’s typical faring these days for the bass to be inaudible in death metal, therefore I’d hope the listener doesn’t dwell on this and let it ruin the experience. Destructhor handles vocals as well as guitars here, and his growls and roars seem to be mixed with a dual-pitch effect similar to the vocals heard on Deathmachine and World Ov Worms. Anyone who dislikes vocal effects in their death metal (especially of this nature) probably won’t enjoy this aspect of the album very much. I personally think the vocals enhance the inhuman and almost mechanical atmosphere created on Superior Massacre, just as they did on the previously mentioned albums. An upside to the intense vocalizing is that it obscures and detracts from the broken English and sometimes juvenile lyrics, which are an easily-disregarded (though still present nonetheless) flaw to be heard.

Aside from the intro and outro tracks (both composed by Epilektrician, not even Myrkskog themselves), the songwriting presented here is top-notch death metal craftsmanship. Many tracks on Deathmachine were over-written and much longer than they needed to be in places, causing a sensation of being dragged through the album. Fortunately, Superior Massacre’s songs avoid this pitfall for the most part and rip away at an interesting pace the whole way through. Destructhor managed to craft some absolutely face-ripping and bizarre guitar riffs, all of which contribute to Superior Massacre’s monstrous atmosphere. Songwriting tends to harken back to the band’s black metal origins and influences in places, most notably in tracks Detain The Skin, Trapped In Torment, and Over The Gore. The fact that Myrkskog is able to mix these blackened aspects within a brutal death metal framework in order to create such a uniquely intense sound showcases a true songwriting talent, something which isn’t always guaranteed in many modern death metal bands of similar style. Every song seems to find a new way to sonically maim the listener, especially the main riffs in Domain of the Superior and Blood Ejactulation. When the band isn’t pummeling one’s eardrums with the intense blasting sections, they transition into murkier territories in a well-done fashion which gives certain songs a rather twisting and amorphous feel. Secthdamon does an incredible job behind the kit, blasting and grooving away like a battering machine. It’s unfortunate that most people associate him simply as the bassist/not-so-up-to-par vocalist replacement for Zyklon after Daemon left, because this man definitely has some notable drumming chops. Judging by the mild low-end rumbling present throughout the album, Gortheon seems like a competent bass player despite the unfortunate inaudibility.

As grand as Superior Massacre is, it would be great to see if Myrkskog can take the style they’ve demonstrated here and expand it to new heights on a third full-length album. Unfortunately, it appears this band has taken the unfortunate path of falling into obscurity with a status of being on-hold/split-up/who even knows. Perhaps someday Destructhor will get tired of riding the gravy train and making terrible pseudo-industrial “death metal” with Morbid Angel, and will once again long for the times when he wrote legitimate music like this as opposed to that trash. Until the day comes, we have the man’s back-catalogue to appreciate which features this monster of an album. Superior Massacre is mandatory listening for any blackened/modern death metal fan, as well as all listeners of Zyklon. It will superiorly massacre the opinion of anyone who thought Aeon and Disintigrate were the epitome of what these fellows are capable of.