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Good sophomore effort - 89%

The_Ghoul, February 4th, 2009

The year is 1998. Setherial are releasing a sophomore effort to the momentous Nord, this time featuring In Battle madman drummer Otto Wiklund instead of the faustian Zathanel. I look forward to that, and the result is 47 minutes of nonstop black metal aggression. From the opening scream "SATAN'S REAAAAALLLM" to the symphonic outro to the song Lords of the Nightrealm, this kicks ass the whole way, in an accessible package that Nord was obviously not in.

This accessibility can prove to be a fault at time, because the beautiful complexity of Nord is obviously lost here. But, looking at where Setherial went in the future, becoming Dark Funeral clones with Hell Eternal, it's very pleasant listening to the hybrid of old vs. new, Nord Vs. Hell Eternal. That being said, this is a much more organic listening experience than the rather plastic and covalent Hell Eternal. The drums are done tastefully, if not endlessly blasting away, but the guitars aren't in the "WE MUST ALWAYS PLAY MINOR CHORDS" fad that Setherial did with Hell Eternal and Dark Funeral seems to enjoy doing. In a way it's a remnant of past complexity, as Setherial started out as a really melodic band, reminiscent to Emperor and Dimmu's oldest (pre-1997) stuff, not the Dark Funeral and Marduk worship we have today.

Still though, this is a much simpler album than efforts past. It's obviously meant for less discerning audiences, appealing less to the intellectual part of us but more to our bestial thrash hearts. The rhythm guitar sound is more akin to Bathory's Return..., raw and metally and filthy to the max. The lead guitar is still Mysteriis' signature trebly crunch. He really should stick to guitar, instead of drums. Otto Wiklund, aka Moloch, really dominates here and makes ridiculously fast rhythms, though the snare is kinda buried, akin to the mix of In Battle's s/t. Still though, it's really enjoyable, and it's the last of the olskool melodic Setherial sound. Now it's mostly norsecore satan worship, and their latest are barely worth your time.