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Obscure but praiseworthy - 85%

Pestbesmittad, July 31st, 2008

This is a good demo, which unfortunately doesn’t seem to be known by that many. By the time “Through the Black Mist” came out, the Norwegian scene was already going strong with e.g. Burzum, Immortal, Mayhem and Enslaved leading the way and smaller Norwegian bands like Perished had a pretty hard time getting noticed. Anyway, “Through the Black Mist” was one of the most notable Norwegian demos of 1994. The music is mostly in the vein of Dimmu Borgir (“For All Tid” era) and Satyricon (“Dark Medieval Times” era): black metal with synth, which is pretty catchy without being too soft. They also use acoustic guitar occasionally to spice things up and create a medieval atmosphere. Also note that this demo was recorded before Dimmu Borgir’s debut album, so Perished cannot be accused of plagiarism when it comes to that particular band.

The sound differs a bit on the different sides of the tape. The first four tracks are quite raw and trebly with an annoying “hissing” hi-hat high in the mix and the guitars are overall a bit too thin and low in the mix. The last two tracks (the B side of the tape) have a heavier guitar sound and seem to originate from a different recording session, yet the hi-hat is still too loud in the mix. Another difference is that only the first four tracks contain synths and acoustic guitar. Although there are no bad tracks, I prefer the first four tracks because they are more varied and have good choruses, the other two aren’t that memorable as they rely more on repetition. “A Landscape of Flames” is repetitive in a Burzum kind of way though, which works pretty well. The riffs are mostly melancholic, with the synths complementing them in a good way. A feeling of sadness penetrates the songs even if there are a lot of fast parts as well (no blasting though). Even though the sound quality isn’t the best, nothing can hide the fact that there are some truly great songs here.

The vocals are mostly screamy but occasionally Bahtyr also uses clean narrative vocals, most notably on “The Perfect Face of Death” - a song which has an epic early Enslaved vibe to it. This track also has good interaction between the acoustic and electric guitars. Both play the riff of the song but the acoustic guitar plays the riff in a slow picking manner while the electric guitars play it in a fast manner.

The other absolute highlights of this demo are “My King’s Empire” and “My Darkest Embrace”. The first one starts with a good slow build-up with sad guitar melodies and synth and then evolves into a mostly mid-tempo track with some fast parts included. “My Darkest Embrace” starts calmly with acoustic guitars and synths, after which the rest of the instruments kick in. The track continues in mid-tempo for a while until everything stops and a great fast melancholic guitar riff starts comes in. I very much like these kinds of build-ups in songs and Perished pull them off very well on this demo. It’s a shame that only one track from “Through the Black Mist”, i.e. “The Autumn Misery”, got re-recorded later on because I feel that especially “My King’s Empire” and “The Perfect Face of Death” would’ve deserved re-recordings with better production.