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A worthy addition to your library - 80%

we hope you die, February 16th, 2019

Let’s raise a glass to the work horses of black metal. Maybe not epoch defining or game changing; just putting out solid work of quality for the sheer grim of it. And looking back to the mid-1990s there’s plenty of such artists to choose from.

Ungod don’t really sound typical of their native Germany, but that’s largely because there’s just not enough German black metal going to amount to a ‘style’. The original incarnation of Absurd was a short lived folky/punk outfit, Nagelfar were an exercise in energetic yet experimental black metal…then there’s Ungod, and their debut LP ‘Circle of the Seven Infernal Pacts’ (1993). For fans of ‘Under a Funeral Moon’ I would say, although this comes with more than a token nod to melody.

This is simple lo-fi black metal that nevertheless offers up an abundance of riffs and a surprising degree of melody. One gets the impression that the poor production values were more a matter of necessity than choice, unlike their northern cousins Darkthrone. They have layered the entire final mix with reverb to cover up what would otherwise be a rather flat recording. The result is music that sounds like it is being played underwater. Vocals are a high pitched distant shriek, fairly standard black metal fair.

Drums are unremarkable, but they don’t need to be with this minimalist take on black metal. They exist to serve the wash of guitars. This always reminds me of an interesting interview with Fenriz on ‘Transylvanian Hunger’, where he explained that for this style of black metal, the drums simply have to be there. ‘Soulside Journey’ (1991) demonstrated that he was already a very accomplished drummer, but he did not feel the need to showcase this for Darkthrone’s black metal trilogy, because the music is better served by more basic drumming that simply adds to the pacing.

With that in mind, it is clear on COTSIP that guitars are the real stars of the show. Although awash with the reverb that covers the entire record, they set the tone, the pace, the tempo, the rhythm, and the mood of this music. Although relatively basic, there is enough creativity behind the riff formations to hold one’s attention. I like to think of this album as a beginners guide to how run-of-the mill black metal is put together. The simplicity of all the components allows one a glimpse of how more complicated music of this nature is put together. No it’s not ground breaking, nor is it all that remarkable, but for those wishing to delve deeper into the mechanics of basic black metal, this album offers much of academic interest.

Ungod I would only recommend to underground black metal enthusiasts like myself. It’s not re-inventing the wheel, and fans of Darkthrone have heard it all before, but it’s a worthy addition to the libraries of black metal fans up and down the land, and instructional in how this music is crafted.

Originally published at Hate Meditations

Black Apocalyptic Masterpiece - 99%

Moravian_black_moon, June 29th, 2008

If there was ever an underground black metal album that’s been tremendously underappreciated, this monster of a release has got to be it. “Circle of the Seven Infernal Pacts” stands for everything that is filthy and black and is a perfect example of a black metal gem lost in time and darkness. Razing guitars and haunting vocals that will give you chills of terror and excitement. A very atmospheric release with the “less is more” attitude that very few bands today are able to pull off. These German misanthropes wanted an album evil, old school, and primitive as possible and they did not fail.

The drummer is listed as a session drummer but his contribution on this album adds to the frenzy turmoil that this album is best known for. A great example can be found in the short drum intro in “Dark Winds Around the Throne of Blood”. Although there are some mid-paced parts, overall I’d rate this a rather fast and aggressive release.

The 1 percent I left out on the score is because it is just a little too short. I would of loved this album to eclipse the 30 minute mark. It’s just too good and I’m always begging for more after the final apocalyptic riffs of “Black Clouds Beyond the Fullmoon” bring upon an abrupt and chaotic end. Recommended to fans of black metal who are waiting to be surprised by that one occult gem that they wished they had heard years before, this will not disappoint any fan into the primitive and the “dark and murky basement” sounding production.

Standout tracks: “Circle of the Seven Infernal Pacts”, “Magicus Tulis Damnatio”, “Lost Beast, Born in Darkness”, and “Black Clouds Beyond the Fullmoon”.

I like... You may not - 85%

Poser_Holocaust, October 6th, 2004

This was one of my first "Black Metal" albums I had personally purchased back in 95. When I say "Black Metal" I mean it the typical European type (not original Death Metal essence). Nope, hear we have fast picking Black Metal from Germany, but I do enjoy this album. Typical at times simple high speed banjo picking guitar sound yet there are plenty of slower actually demonic grim parts. Drums are very weak and gets drowned under the vokills and guitar. Bass guitar??? The vomits on the other hand do always sound hellish and haunting. That saves the album in its less inspired moments; songs which tend to go around in circles in terms of song writing, never really feeling like there is a begining or end... just a sudden stop (but that is to be expected really). The production is very hollow flat and grainy; fortunatly manages to give a cult sound. Layout is cult simple and boring. Although it may seem I don't care for this album or band because of all the negative comments... there is just something I like about this album despite its flaws. That is a personal pref and can not be re experienced through a review.