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Rotten hymns of dark ages - 99%

Wandererovmirk, December 28th, 2017

Ungfell became the most notable discovery this year and as I've enjoyed all their releases, including demo and split with Dakhma both released in 2015, - but Tôtbringære became the quintessence of this great Feast in Time of Plague, where madness finally prevails over rationality and you have nothing to do besides start laughing hysterically and join the last living ones in the universal saltation on the bones of the dead.

I first heard the album right at the time, when I was deeply into Peste Noire's medieval aesthetics and passionately looking for something like that - rotten, pestilential and full of filth from the old era of kings, fanaticism, bigotry and dispassionate scythe of the Black Death collecting its harvest. I think everyone will agree that in those conditions this album hits right into the bull's eye with the complexity of it's sound, atmosphere and art creating a great and really authentic piece in the entire genre's history. For me this duo from Switzerland has moved much further in the lemic explorations of grim past than KPN (no blames to Famine and company - still enjoying lots of their past and present works) and totally ascended their own throne in the hall of the greatest comissioners of black metal.

Getting closer to the sound of an album itself, first memorable thing for me was the interesting construction of instrumental part of Ungfell's music, where this putrefactive guitar sound is covered in very different forms: from a "classical" fast black metal riffage it suddenly morphs into something slow and halting and the second after it's already creating a mad hurricane of sound, whipped up by crazy and complex Infermità's drumming, which is a kind I've really never heard before. The other thing that sure enough deserves to be mentioned is staggering Menetekel's vocal, which is nothing else but a pure high-pitched howl, full of anger and tumult, that keeps relentlessly yelling those obscure lyrics, adroitly creating a big part of the whole album's atmosphere.

To sum up, I've heard lots of great albums this year and it turned out that Tôtbringære was released in the beginnig of February, when it's too early to speak about album of the year confidently. But now, in the end of 2017, I'm absolutely positive that this record holds the first place of my personal top with stranglehold and won't allow anyone to steal it's triumph. Hails to Menetekel, Infermità and the whole HUC for such great musical acts!