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Basement Dwelling Black Metal - 75%

Vaseline1980, December 4th, 2020
Written based on this version: 1995, CD, Infortunium Records

If you have any notion of the person Fredrik Söderlund and his work, you know that a black metal band with him as only member will not be a very joyous affair. And how right you are: his debut album under the Octinomos banner is a stripped down and malevolent piece of nihilistic work, devoid of all light and warmth, leaving only an empty shell of misanthropic fury in its wake.

The music contained in this loveless release is primarily fast and thinly produced black metal, comparable in style with the earliest works of Gorgoroth, Immortal and Marduk. The tempo is predominantly held high, with the drum machine working in double-time for the bulk of the material. Stacked on top of the rusty razor-wire guitar work are the tortured shrieks of F. Söderlund and the only moments of reprieve come in the form of occasional smatterings of synths, the soft parts in "Beyond Salvation" and the two orchestral instrumentals included here. The basement-style raw and thin sounding production makes the music sound exactly the way you'd want a mid 90's underground black metal release to sound: cold as ice and as dark as in Satan's ass. The seething music exudes nihilistic terror and conjures up a darkness I find sorely missing in a lot of current black metal. This release takes me back to those classic days when second wave black metal was yet to crawl out of the abyss and enter into the mainstream. Listening to this cd always brings on a shameless wave of nostalgia.

Now this is perhaps a bit of a weird statement, but this album's biggest advantage is perhaps also its biggest downside. The raw and thin sounding production that gives Octinomos the grim and menacing atmosphere that makes real black metal into the venomous monster it should be, can also get grating if it lasts for 48 minutes like this one does. And I also can't ignore this mistake: what's up with that weird "bump" in the track "On the Demiurge"? It sounds as if the song trips over it's own feet there, but when used to it, it actually becomes one of those charming slip-ups, showing perhaps that behind all the misanthropic darkness and fury, there's still a person of flesh and blood behind it all.

To finish it up: this is a cold and dark black metal monster, spewing venomous bile everywhere, and that is what makes this album into the magnificent beast that it is, even if the duration of this platter can be hard to stomach in one sitting. For me personally, it has everything that made black metal so interesting and compelling back in the early 90's.