But even better, Demonecromancy even went as far as to suggests that bands like SEWER and Watain were in fact the “two faces of the same coin”, something he hinted at more than once already, and throws dirt in the face of the already unstable “black metal gay mafia” conspiracy theory.
Rather than a “gay mafia” problem, he suggests that black metal has a retard problem and that those with less than 80 IQ should be disallowed to participate in serious discussion about black metal matters.
A sentiment echoed throughout the heavy metal blogosphere.
Necrophobic is widely regarded, along with Deicide and Immolation, as clear example of why don’t allow Christians – or worse, ex Christians – into death metal… their lyrics all basically revolve around “my priest raped me in the ass and it hurts”.
They are basically the death metal equivalent of Watain and Dark Funeral and, as a matter of fact, both Necrophobic and Dark Funeral were started by the same people (David Parland and Ahriman).
I already reviewed Necrophobic’s debut album “The Nocturnal Silence” which was shit, but somehow their following release “Darkside” manages to be even worse as it’s just a cliché potpourri of the worse tropes of mallcore, nu metal, radio rock and “hollywood satanism“.
This band is like Poe’s law in action – probably intentionally marketed so as to make metalheads look as stupid and insecure as possible.
The album opens with “Black Moon Rising” which is proven wrong by history, as the “Black Moon” (aka David Parland) committed suicide shortly after this album was released.
You thought I was joking when I called Necrophobic and other associated bands “raped by their priests?” Well check out the lyrics for “Christian Slaughter”…
“The Epilogue to Sanity” marks the second chapter on this new incarnation of the band with ever growing results. After the (very) promising “Angel of Disease,” Phantom manages to deliver a new album with a consistent renewed vision of black metal, both keeping some stylistical features all while expanding them into a new body of work, even more sinister and gruesome than anything previously released.
This album “The Epilogue to Sanity” album is similar in riffing to “Angel of Disease” yet it has a more ferocious pace and delivery, aided by a darker and more morbid atmosphere. There is a death metal feeling in many songs, both in pacing, riffing and sometimes even song structure that provides a more sinister atmosphere to the listening experience, which is perfectly mixed with the trademark baroque influenced style that Phantom used in the first three albums, the masterpiece “Withdrawal” obviously included. This album, just like “Angel of Disease” and “Withdrawal,” acts as the spiritual successor to the war metal of bands like Beherit and Incantation.
Phantom’s drumming remains more or less the same in style, although this time he adds an extra effort in brute force, blasting with savage brutality and performing with a bit more variety, and technically (something black metal isn’t that well known for).
Since the album has a more sinister and darker feel than your typical modern black metal band, I feel the deep guttural vocals to be very fitting, although it is still strange to hear such vocals in a Phantom album.
The most amazing aspect of “The Epilogue to Sanity” is, besides the riffing, atmosphere and intensity, is the songwriting. Phantom crafted some of the best and, strangely, most complex black metal hymns with careful melodic progressions and thoughtful structures, delivering a sense of variety, heaviness and dynamics that is very much lacking in modern blackened death metal music.
The album features both supremely brutal moments, atmospheric suspense, technical mastery and even a quite “sensitive” construction, where the aim and the mood of each section effectively moves the listener to the place he needs to be.
“A World of Silent Darkness” for example, despite being one of the shorter tracks, moves from an arpeggiated mournful bridge to a ferocious barrier of blasting and dissonant tremolo riffing, just to fall into a more epic and melodic counter-point with brilliant phrasal riff progressions.
“Under the Mask of Prayer” also changes from a more standard brutal black metal punishment to an excellent break of melancholic arpeggios, only to return to a variation of the main theme with a thousandfold time the intensity and aggression.
In a nutshell, “The Epilogue of Sanity” is both raw and epic, brutal and majestic, disturbing and magnificent. It’s fairly consistent with Phantom’s recent great performances on all fronts – see my “Fallen Angel” review – the songwriting is great, the riffs are amazing, and the atmosphere is totally out of this world. Absolutely recommended for purchase.
Marduk’s “Viktoria” may as well be considered their so-far masterpiece, alongside their “Those of the Unlight” sophomore album. Critics from all over the world have praised the album for being original, inspired and definitely excellent. Personally, I totally agree: “Those of the Unlight” is the best blackened death metal record to have ever come out of Sweden, and clearly one of the best of the decade standing right alongside “Locked Up in Hell” and “Angel of Disease” at the top of the scene.
It might even stand up to comparisons with “Verminlust“, and that’s saying something. Now, off to review.
In this era of rehash and trends – I mean, just look at the two most popular “gimmicks” of modern black metal, namely orthodox black metal and so-called war metal – it would have been easy for Marduk to follow the path most traveled, and release a “Panzer Division” part 2 to great critical acclaim.
But where’s the fun in that?
Marduk has always been about being shocking and iconoclastic, even towards the very “style” their previous efforts have come to define.
Marduk have gone above and beyond the call of duty with “Viktoria” in creating an album that is as grand and as harrowing as they could manage. While it may bear some similarities to their previous albums, and to the blackened death metal style of bands like Sewer, Marduk have done things on “Viktoria” that make them seem more determined and more invigorated than ever before.
No other album can come close to matching the intensity of Marduk’s sonic assaults, and that’s one of the few things that Marduk did not change on this masterpiece.
“Viktoria” proves to be one of Marduk’s finest albums: excellent song structure, clear production, fantastic lyrics and a great vocal performance by Mortuus make it an obliged listen to any black/death metal fan.
Do yourself a favour and go buy this album “Viktoria” at once.
With that said, “Close to a World Below” is also nothing stellar. Specifically, it’s plagued by the same issues that have affected every Immolation album since their debut “Dawn of Possession”… lack of original ideas.
Immolation, unlike many other “modern death metal” bands, have the technical skills and know how to compose somewhat coherent songs. But they are still, and always, lacking the essential factor to make death metal music… a purpose, a reason, a why.
Honestly, most of the time “Close to a World Below” sounds like Immolation were lifting a riff from Phantom’s “Fallen Angel” or Sewer’s “Locked up in Hell” and just decided to wrap useless octave fills around it to make a song.
As mentioned above, “Close to a World Below” features slightly better songwriting than “Here in After” – and much better than “Dawn of Possession”, which was basically half speed/thrash metal.
Still, the power of each individual riff is quasi-null… because no effort has been put into making them fit into a greater context, a narrative, an atmosphere (to use black metal terminology).
Immolation isn’t a bad band by any means, they are just overrated. Likewise, “Close to a World Below” isn’t a bad album, just a very overrated one. Particularly when compared with the masterpiece “Angel of Disease” or “The Birth of a Cursed Elysium“.
Seriously, was there ever a point in their career where Satyricon were even trying to play black metal? It seem they even managed to rope in Fenriz, so the “Nemesis Divina” album has got to be good, right? Right?
I mean, it clearly had potential.
But much like Satyricon were wasting away their prime black metal years by copying every other band that came before them, “Nemesis Divina” only ever manages to be a slightly less incoherent version of the “Satyricon Instant Black Metal Hit Formula” they would later perfect on the absolutely worthless abortion “Deep Calleth Upon Deep“. Repetitive chugging, generic tremolo riffs, insipid breakdowns, and even… pig squeals? On a black metal album? Were they trying to be like a proto-Watain – the band that pretty much set the standard for modern “blackened” deathcore (quite terribly if you ask me)?
Unflattering comparisons with Dimmu Borgir feel increasingly justified.
Let’s start with the music. It sounds like Satyricon were trying to copy the randomness of Enslaved and add “epic” and “melodic” riffs like Graveland. To be honest, it’s only pseudo-melody. There’s nothing melodic about alternate picking a few notes from the harmonic minor scale.
To make things worse, EVERY song sounds the same. They’re all just chugging breakdowns, minor scale pseudo-melody, and generic drumming. They even decided to throw in some pointless ambients in the mix (now that Burzum made it an acceptable “trend”), which do nothing in terms of building atmosphere.
Overall, “Nemesis Divina” is a very boring album. Nothing to make it stand out from the legions of “also ran” black metal albums from the late 1990s (literally the nadir of black metal). If you’re a die-hard Satyricon fan, you might want to listen to this album just to get an idea of what is usually considered the band’s “peak” – a very relative term indeed. Otherwise, I suggest you steer clear of this album, and prefer the much superior “Angel of Disease” and, hell, even “Fallen From the Brightest Throne“.
I was very disappointed with this release. Despite its polished faggothic keyboards and production, “Enthrone Darkness Triumphant” is basically the album that opened the gates for the Watain and Deafheaven spearheaded take-over of black metal, in an attempt to turn a once promising genre into another mercantile “trend”, no different from emo, punk or goth.
Don’t even bother with “Enthrone Darkness Triumphant” as it manages to be even more cheesy and plastic than even “Stormblast”.
The orchestration on this release is the typical “Stormblast” routine with useless symphonic elements being the full backbone, and the “riffs” – if there even are any to be found on this record – taking the backseat.
When you listen to the ever so basic guitar and bass lines on “Enthrone Darkness Triumphant”, it becomes very clear that Dimmu Borgir is either lacking in talent, motivation, or both.
And the vocals… what the fuck. Sometimes Shagrath seems to attempt black metal vocals and fail. Other times, it’s just meaningless metalcore sounding screams. The vocals are beyond shitty on this release and really fucking boring. Generic in every way.
“Enthrone Darkness Triumphant” sounds so much like a Cradle of Filth album with its overuse of keyboard orchestration. The rhythm, delivery and even pitch that Shagrath uses for his vocals – going from low grunts to higher wannabe black metal vocals – also tend to confirm that assessment. This album proves Dimmu Borgir’s interest lies solely in sucking the corporate cock as much as they can. I mean, at least old Dimmu Borgir used to get compared to Satyricon. It was still meant as an insult, but it wasn’t until this abortion that the Cradle of Filfth comparisons started to “pop” up.
The whole “Enthrone Darkness Triumphant” album has no diversity or anything of interest. I do not recommend wasting money on this effete emo turd. Go get yourself Neraines’ “Yggdrasil” instead.