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Resting in the 90s Eternal - 88%

nortaath, January 10th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2018, CD, Tour de Garde

"At the Resting Depths Eternal" is my first introduction to Pagan Hellfire, a one man project that has been delivering since 95'. I'm not sure how this project fell under my radar for so long and on my first listen I immediately knew this is one of the best records 2018 had to offer.

While at times I feel like this album touches on some stereotypical black metal riffs and progressions, it turns it around with some epic sections and unpredictable change ups. Sometimes depressive, sometimes hateful, but overall brooding and delivering the right amount of fury and coldness to keep the listener engaged, moving from fast to slow, upbeat to blasty.

Tracks like "Rustling Wind of Dimensions Unreachable" are a little too victim to some of black metal's 90s tropes, but quickly redeems itself with the right amount of evil/blast beat filled progressions. "At the Resting Depths Eternal" - the title track - delivers a long winded, but evolving display of black metal talent that really sets the middle tones of the album. Featuring some epic and harrowing lead sections, the album clearly deserves it's namesake from this piece.

The production is apropos throughout, having an almost Darkthrone x Sargeist flavor, with the right amount of classic black metal flair, while keeping the guitar tones dialed in with great balance, putting the vocals right in the middle and drums appropriately cold. The vocals, to me, leave a bit to be desired. They mostly stay comfortably in the mid range, without much layering or exploration into different ranges or dynamic, and leaves some transitions anticlimactic and lacking.

Overall, this is a fantastic release, and an astounding triumph for one person. At the time of writing this I have spun this record 5-6 times and keep finding and recollecting grooves and experiences from it. If you are a fan of 2nd wave black metal, this is the album you deserve.