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Leggo my ego - 20%

doomknocker, September 22nd, 2011

In the eyes of all gods in creation, we'll all be judged by the company we keep. This is true when pursuing a career/hobby in music, from main bands to side projects to musical prostitution, and when it comes to "supergroups" or projects in which bigger names from different-yet-similar walks of life come together, it doesn't always mean their combined skills will create something ultimately brilliant (it still happens, though). This is no exception.

I didn't have any real expectations upon hearing Shagrath and King ov Hell had gotten together for an album, and I'll be damned if even THAT didn't prepare me for what was to come...

I wouldn't call this a "supergroup" by any stretch. I wouldn't really consider it musical art. What I WOULD call it is mediocre, bland, vanilla, cardboard...just a whole lotta nothing. It's an interesting change of pace for at least one of these two podium-standing fools, as I wouldn't expect a person of Shagrath's echelon to put his voice to an album of such breathstealing drudgery, but I know that this is exactly the kind of thing his playmate excels at. Seriously...King ov Hell's a talentless hack, there's no two ways about it, and there is nothing he does as a composer and performer that's interesting in the least, from Gorgoroth to this to any other attempts at black metal he'll no doubt undertake, despite his elbow-rubbing with some of his genre-based elders and strutting his stuff like a hanger-on with the cool kids (and subsequently being despised for it). I know I sound harsh, maybe even vengeful, but never in my life have I heard a black metal album so completely devoid of feeling and honesty, a product created purely to BE a product, with nothing to show for it in the end but a superiority complex topped with a contemptable sneer. That's exactly what I get from this album, outside of its already established sense of two-dimensionality.

The problem with being aware of who you are (or rather, who you THINK you are) is that, in the creative field, your output suffers for it. If Kingy-boy actually puts his heart into his music, the chance exists that he'd be able to make something really spectacular. Not this time, though. Between the plodding guitar riffs, the washed out bass, and the pitter-pattery drums, there's nothing here that's not seen betterment by other people, even those not even considered part of his personal coolness crew. And even Shaggy, with his robotic drones and croaks, doesn't do anything to make this whole ordeal easier on the ears (but then again, he's just as guilty of hackery as the King is, so it's more a "tomato, tomahto" thing), leaving multiple sensations of numbing ennui in the form of "Post Modern Sadist", "Perpetual Night" and "Acts of Sin". It's albums like this that doesn't put black metal in a good light (but then again, there are a LOT of other factors in play in that regard), and in this day and age, the genre needs more than a couple of dudes pushing their swelled heads through the door and believing that they're a pair of corpsepainted anti-messiahs.

So in the end, this is not necessary, and something I don't think should've come to existence in the first place. No amount of pandering and nose-thumbing would make ANY album of ANY style work, and the lack of honesty so burgeoning in "The Underworld Regime", which is now becoming the new black in the black metal world, only serves up derision, pointed fingers, and accusatory curses on blabbermouth.net. Pass.