Sunday, August 17, 2014

Manii


Manii - Kollaps
Avantgarde Music, 2013
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal

1. Skoddeheim
2. Liv-øydar
3. Likfugl Flaksar
4. Ei Sjæl som Sloknar
5. Kaldt
6. Endelaust
7. Ei Beingrind i Dans
8. Avgrunns Djuv








Does anyone remember when the band Manes was a two piece and used to play this disturbing Thorns inspired style of Black Metal? No, probably because that band has turned into some modern rock piece of nonsense. Rather than change the name of Manes once they decided not to play Black Metal they just kept the name, which was a really stupid move, resulting in a lot of bad reviews for "Vilosophe". Instead, some fourteen years later the original duo of Manes seem to have rekindled their desire for Black Metal and released an album under the new name Manii.

Who would have thought that "Kollaps" would enter the scene on the waves of some very relevant Atmospheric Black Metal. This is unusual, because I don't hear a lot of relevant Black Metal coming out of Norway these days. Perhaps I am not paying much attention there, but Manii is in rare form. If this kind of release was in Cernnunus' blood, he could have been at the forefront of the Atmospheric revolution in Black Metal. Instead, I herald his return with this incredibly beautiful experience. It's largely dark and melancholic in atmosphere. It is certainly not a fast release and it feels similar to Sun of the Blind at times in some of its elements and approach. "Endelaust" has piano sections that make me think of things I would expect to hear on a Dødheimsgard release, but it really works amidst the harsh guitar. I think I also hear a lot of Vindsval's "The Eye" in this with the kind of texturing we get. The chords and lead guitar work a very reminiscent of what we heard with Mortuus, so if you'd like to hear their sound recast into a much more atmospheric approach then "Kollaps" will blow you away. There is, of course, the ever present Thorns atmosphere and "Avgrunns Djuv" feels like a slower, moodier take on elements of the self-titled Thorns album, especially with that piano line wending its way behind the guitar.

I truly hope this release is not lost in the mire of Black Metal released this year. It is a shining gem amidst many mediocre and bad albums. However, the new name may elude people, especially the ever present trend of short memories I feel is plaguing the scene today. Still, Manii is a return to the days of Black Metal that we have been wanting from these musicians. It makes me wonder if Manes had stuck with Black Metal if they would have trended this way eventually... maybe stepping away from the genre is what it really took to create something like "Kollaps" and for that I can hardly fault them. I really hope Manii continues to inject its atmosphere into the genre more often and stays active for years to come


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Throne of Splendour


Throne of Splendour - Facing the New Dawn
Garazel Productions, 1999
Genre: Pagan Black Metal

1. Intro
2. Winds of Pride
3. Following the Eternal Voices
4. Facing the New Dawn












Throne of Splendour is a little known project out of Greece. The release of this tape on Garazel Productions is really what brought me to purchasing the tape, which is really just on the demo material level. This is also their second tape, I have missed out on the first and have, truly, no idea where I would even track it down. I will simply wait for someone to come along that wants to part with it. This tape, however, comes as a pro-printed double sided booklet with a dubbed tape.

Throne of Splendour is not your typical Black Metal project. It feels like they are sort of a slightly new take on the Graveland sound, to be honest. One of the major reasons this gets a Pagan Black Metal feel is because of its less conventional drumming approach. Rather than use a drum kit, they stick with traditional old world hand drums and a tambourine to keep the pace of the songs. The intro song and closing song "Facing the New Dawn" are simply clean guitar songs. They certainly create that cold and old atmosphere you would expect. "Winds of Pride" and "Following the "Eternal Voices" have distorted guitar lines that resemble the work of Rob Darken in many ways. They also feature the traditional harsh vocals of Black Metal. The music definitely has that epic and ancient feel to it, so in that regard they have certainly succeeded. One of the strange things related to this music is that it is very anti-Muslim or "Moslem" as they've written it in the booklet. I find this interesting, because this is a very early occurrence for that stand-point in Black Metal. It is only later that this stance becomes far more prominent in the genre, going beyond the more usual anti-Christian standpoints.

Overall this is pretty good and quite interesting material. So, if you've ever wanted a slightly different approach to the Graveland style this might be of interest to you. I think in later Graveland albums you would even see Darken including a lot of these elements in his music, so its tough to say who influenced who in some respects. Graveland is certainly the far more well known band in this case, hence the references. The musicians involved with Throne of Splendour seem to have stopped being involved in the music scene altogether though...

Nightwolf


Nightwolf & Ravenclaw - Conspiracy Against Christianity
Obscure Arts Productions, 1996
Genre: Black Metal

Nightwolf:
1. Intro
2. Twilight of the Night (Dusk)
3. Kingdom of Hate
4. Night without Return
5. The Shadows of the Ancient Fog are Rising
6. Dawn
7. Outro
8. Conspiracy Against Christianity (Split-song)
Ravenclaw:
9. Destroyer
10. On the Throne of Fire
11. The Prophecy Comes True
12. Necromancy
13. White Pigeons Fly Nevermore
14. I Hail the Night
16. An Everlasting Fire Burns Our Souls

Side Ravenclaw: here
Side Nightwolf:

This is the only recorded material from the Nightwolf project. It's a solo project of Celticmoon, who has recently died in 2014. So, it's kind of surreal that I finally got this release in that same year and now am doing a review for it. It looks like he has been involved with a few projects over his time involved with music, but this is the first I have ever heard. I, naturally, picked this up seeking out the Ravenclaw material, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear how good the Nightwolf material is. This comes as a cassette release with a multi-panel, but single sided booklet and is limited to 200 hand-numbered copies of which I own #138.

As you'd expect from someone doing a split with Ravenclaw, Nightwolf's music is pretty raw, but it's also extremely good. You can clearly hear some serious Moonblood influence in the way the songs are written, and maybe that's why I really find it enjoyable to some degree. The good part is that its not really a rip-off in any way, instead its sort of its own thing. The guitar riffs manage to have a fairly epic quality to them at times, which can give the music this sort of soaring feel to it. Other times things are just fast and grim like "The Shadows of the Ancient Fog are Rising". The final song on the Nightwolf side, and title track of the split is a joint creation between Celticmoon and Gaamalzagoth. The song definitely blends their two styles together, with Gaamalzagoth lending his vocal performance to the majority of verses, as far as I can tell. It definitely makes for a true old school sounding song in that regard.

It's a real shame that this is the only thing Nightwolf ever did. It would have been interesting to see Celticmoon build the project more over the years, but that will never happen now. It's certainly some quality material written at a very early time when this would sound relatively fresh during some of its moments, so for that it is a quite commendable release. It's too bad this release is stuck in the relative unknown, as I have never heard the band named uttered in conversations.


Friday, August 1, 2014

Funeral Mist


Funeral Mist - Maranatha
Norma Evangelium Diaboli, 2009
Genre: Black Metal

1. Sword of Faith
2. White Stone
3. Jesus Saves!
4. A New Light
5. Blessed Curse
6. Living Temples
7. Anathema Maranatha
8. Anti-Flesh Nimbus








Six years! I can't believe it has taken so long to release a new album. Okay, granted Arioch has since joined Marduk and is singing for them now. So that vocal experiment with "what would Marduk sound like with Arioch on vocals" turned out to be rather fortuitous for him. Since Marduk sets such a demanding schedule for its musicians, I am not entirely surprised "Maranatha" has taken so long to complete. Over the years Marduk's sound has also been outright blended with the Funeral Mist approach making it more difficult to tell the difference between the two projects. Not that I'm complaining... I actually like Funeral Mist a lot and more Funeral Mist is not a bad thing to me. However, for whatever reason the winds of Black Metal have changed quite a bit. There are loads of fans out there that have labeled Funeral Mist as rather in vogue to hate. A lot of Norma Evangelium Diaboli bands are suffering from this attitude as we transition into the teens of the new millennium. I'm not sure what has happened, maybe Deathspell Omega's rise to prominence was too swift... but whatever the reasons it is now really cool to hate these bands. Any band that spends time researching lyrics and coming up with well thought out ideas is swiftly lambasted by a particular group of fans in the scene. For whatever reason they explain this as being disingenuous to Black Metal, but I, personally, think this is the direction Black Metal really needed to go in. It needed to get more thought out, it needed some realm of growth in an area. Lyrics and conceptual art seem to be one of those areas. I have no idea why this would get bands like Funeral Mist labelled as fakes, even by the old standards... and it's not like Funeral Mist is new to the party here. They essentially haven't changed much since 1996 when "Havoc" came out on the musical front. Its like people don't care about the history of a band and if they were that fake, the scene should have been complaining about that since "Devilry" was released. Instead I see people praising "Devilry" left and right for how amazing it is... well "Maranatha" isn't hugely different from "Devilry", sure its a more mature record and the compositions are more thought out, but that frantic and violent sound we all fell in love with in 1998 is still here. I am going to continue to listen to Funeral Mist and I'm going to enjoy the music Arioch crafts, maybe its because I am an academic and work in academia. Maybe that makes me a fake too, but I don't particular care about that because I appreciate the thought that went into this album.

I was instantly interested in "Maranatha" when it was released. I was expecting a fairly solid release, but I wasn't expecting their finest creation ever. I think over the years Arioch has been able to experiment a bit more within the ranks of Marduk and by the time "Maranatha" rolled around his ability to forge especially good material was at a very high point. A lot of the things I complained about during the "Salvation" review have been entirely fixed here. The first, and most noticeable, is that the vocals sit very nicely in the mix and nothing is overpowered. This must have been a mixing nightmare given how dynamic Arioch's performances tend to be. He also takes a step back and doesn't come off as if he needs to fill the musical space with screams and lyrics every second. There are points where we can just bask in the atmosphere of the music being generated, which is something that has been kept away from us in Funeral Mist. That being the case, the songs are much more well crafted than ever before. That usual fast and frantic style is ever present on the release, but he's done a better job creating more of the atmospheric droning styles this time around. Its far improved from "Circle of Eyes" and I really appreciate that a lot.

"Maranatha" seems to seek to do at least one thing throughout the album. Create some of the most disgusting and vile atmospheres you can be subjected to. This is painfully apparent from the moment you see the album cover. The art direction throughout the booklet keeps up this disturbing attitude and is easily conveyed in song after song on this album. The focus on creating that atmosphere is really what makes the album stand out so much, it allows us, at times to just bask in the power and intensity of the violent delivery. Its interesting because the "ugliness" generated isn't that tense and disturbing style found in typically in France, but instead is generated from the vocal layering, frantic guitar composition and samples. The lyrical approach goes after a perversion that points out the general hypocrisy in religion. They are clearly well researched lyrics and it is far superior to the run of the mill "Satan is awesome, and Jesus dumb" variant we've all been putting up with for years. I really like the fact that they push this envelope in the lyrics and it gives the album a sort of contemplative intensity that is lacking in a lot of other areas. The only song I didn't like on here was "White Stone" and its a shame it sits as the second track, because it really throws off the atmosphere between the songs. I'm actually not sure if I would want it thrown off here or later in the album... either way when I listen to "Maranatha" I skip this track constantly.

I really think this album is worth the time invested in it. Arioch hardly strikes me as a fake in the realms of Black Metal. Given his past performances and current standing in the scene, I see no reason to believe that. If you don't like the album, you don't like the album, and that's fine. I just don't see the point in railing the musician who has been involved for many years in a band that hasn't changed a ton over that time frame. "Maranatha" is easily Funeral Mist's best release and it is one of the best albums I've heard in all of 2009, which is saying a lot, because often a single bad track is enough to doom my interest in putting it in the top list, but the rest of the material simply can't be denied. This also features one of Arioch's most impressive vocal performances ever laid down and I can't imagine how people wouldn't appreciate this. It's so vicious and violent and nothing like it really exists out there...


Funeral Mist - Salvation
Norma Evangelium Diaboli, 2003
Genre: Black Metal

1. Agnus Dei
2. Breathing Wounds
3. Holy Poison
4. Sun of Hope
5. Perdition's Light
6. Across the Qliphoth
7. Realm of Plagues
8. Circle of Eyes
9. Bread to Stone
10. In Manus Tuas






We've waited quite a while for a proper full-length from Funeral Mist. "Devilry" was just a teaser for what was to come in the future. I think it was a smart move for Funeral Mist to focus on putting together a full-length rather than just releasing EP's over the years, because the full awe of "Salvation" makes it well worth our wait. This is actually the first release where I heard of Funeral Mist, but I had already known Arioch from the project Triumphator in the 90's. I was surprised to see Funeral Mist dated back even further and I started looking for the earlier material as best I could.

Its interesting to note that Katharsis as also released a new full length on the same label and both albums vocally begin with seriously heart wrenching screams. I would say one has influenced the other, but they were released in the same year around the same time. There may be some influential play between the bands, since both bands perform a fairly chaotic form of Black Metal. Funeral Mist relies on a similar guitar tone that is razor thin, which gives the album this incredibly vicious edge to the performance. Similarly the production is just as raw and harsh as you would expect from either band. The raw production value really gives Funeral Mist a more intense edge than Triumphator, even though the whole point of Triumphator was to be fast and intense. Funeral Mist really outdoes that completely with "Salvation". The one serious criticism I can truly level at this release is that the vocals are too high in the mix. Granted I enjoy Arioch's vocal performance immensely, but in tracks like "Agnus Dei" it is simply overwhelming. Arioch seems to go after cramming as many vocal lines as possible on songs like "Breathing Wounds", so that neither he nor the listener get much of a break to listen to the music. This technique is successful, only, in making the frantic pacing ever more apparent. While, I'm sure, this is the atmosphere Arioch wished to achieve, I still think a break here and there would be warranted. When he does back off a little the songs really shine. Look at the way "Perdition's Light" closes, simply magnificent or the song "Realm of Plagues". His guitar riffs are not bad, they are simply tried and true, but they are not bad. This is nothing we wouldn't expect to hear from the days of "Devilry" at any rate.

An aspect that Arioch experiments with on this album is with writing epic tracks. Now, I wouldn't have expected the usual intense and frantic riffing to hold up over time and neither does Arioch, apparently. On "Circle of Eyes" he falls on a droning guitar line. And I really do mean it drones on forever, neither the riff nor the drum line changes until about eight minutes in. Between Arioch's vocals and the Gregorian chant samples, the song actually manages to be relatively interesting. The fact that the lyrics for this track are some of the best on the album helps a lot too. I also noticed that his vocals are set more in balance with the rest of the instruments, making the song stand out in that regard too. I remember at the time really loving this song, but since its release I've definitely heard other bands do it better. "In Manu Tuas" is the other song that clocks in at over twelve minutes in length, granted the metal stops around seven minutes in. It also closes out the "Salvation" experience and it really does end on a high note. "In Manu Tuas" is an incredible song and one of the best on the album for sure. After the seven minute mark we are treated to some really twisted sort of classical music. Given the fact that Allegri is referenced on the lyric sheet, its probably by him.

In the end "Salvation" is quite the experience. This is also towards the beginning of when the releases from Norma Evangelium Diaboli would dominate the new millennium. They really struck a chord with people at the right time and many of the bands have just taken off as people really wanted to hear more and more. Funeral Mist was certainly long overdue for a full-length and they certainly have given us an excellent release, one of the finer throughout Black Metal, for me, with a vocal performance that few, if any, could ever truly rival.


Funeral Mist - Devilry
Shadow Records, 1998
Genre: Black Metal

1. The Devil's Emissary
2. Bringer of Terror
3. Nightside Phantom
4. Funeral Mist
5. The God Supreme
6. Hellspell 2










This is Funeral Mist's big break into the scene and they have really composed a collection of some of the more vicious elements you can find in Black Metal. This was original pressed on 12" vinyl and limited to 300 copies. Unfortunately, I am reliant on the Norma Evangelium Diaboli release pressed on CD in 2005.

"Devilry" hit the scene harder than "Havoc" really did. Funeral Mist go after a sort of intense and frantic songwriting style, which is unusual for me, because I don't think I've ever really enjoyed a chaotic writing style much. I tend to enjoy more focused and well thought out songs, but Funeral Mist, for whatever reason, come off sounding frantic and chaotic. Which is part of the reason "Devilry" sounds so intense. The vocals certainly help that tension, since Arioch's voice is all over the place. He layers, he uses effects on his voice, etc. Sometimes the effects sound a little cheesy as in "Bringer of Terror" when he uses that high-pitch shifted aspect. However, the opening riffing style of the song will, for me, be a fairly signature Funeral Mist style of guitar approach. A lot of bands try to sound dark and sinister... but Funeral Mist just sound outright evil with "Devilry". It just comes off as intense and violent, rather than dark and mysterious, which I believe is Funeral Mist major aim. It's interesting to hear on here that they've re-recorded the song "Funeral Mist", which originally appeared on "Darkness" and you can hear how different it sounds with Arioch on vocals. When he roars out "Funeral Mist" its just spectacular and the original just didn't have that same level of delivery.

In the end, this is quite a successful release. It really continues the ideas that were founded on "Havoc" and develops them even further. I simply like the palette that Funeral Mist is trying to experiment with. They're not trying to do anything overly ground breaking, but they are trying to develop something marginally different and interesting to give the Black Metal listeners.


Funeral Mist - Havoc
Pounding Metal, 1996
Genre: Black Metal

1. Realm of Shades
2. Hellspell
3. Nightside Phantom
4. The Old Ones Grin












With the seeming demise of the project all efforts have fallen on Arioch to take over. Based on "Darkness" who would have thought such a musician was sitting behind the bass guitar. The band returns with a fire unlike anything else around. I'm almost in shock that this didn't work its way over to me back in the 90's, since this is exactly the type of Black Metal I was interested in at the time. Arioch finds himself on the forefront of the upcoming Swedish scene and he probably didn't even know it at the time. "Havoc" only sees the need for a replacement drummer, which is the only instrument Arioch doesn't seem to play, so who does he team up with? None other than the now legendary Necromorbus. Together they would begin to found a new level of sinister darkness in the Swedish scene. This was recorded in the early stages of the Necromorbus recording studio and it would soon become the eminent Black Metal recording studio in Sweden, in some cases overshadowing the legendary Abyss studios.

Now you have to keep in mind that this is before bands like Ondskapt were performing, this is before Watain was even around, this is before all those bands performing that more infused darkness in their music. The early Swedish scene fell in the footsteps of either Marduk, Dissection, or Dark Funeral. Funeral Mist seems to throw off all those chains and casts a huge infusion of the Norwegian atmospheres a la "De Mysteriis dom Sathanas", blending in the intensity of Marduk, and casting everything in a whole new cloak of darkness unlike ever before. Arioch draws influence from the sinister vocal performance from Attila and then just ups the ante ten fold. A truly crushing and jaw dropping performance. Who would have thought a bassist sitting in the background of "Darkness" had this in them. Ultimately I'm quite glad the band dissolved in the way it did... I'm sure we would have gotten "Havoc" one way or another, but perhaps the band falling apart prompted Arioch to focus on writing more original material.


Funeral Mist - Darkness
Self-Released, 1995
Genre: Black Metal

1. Dreams of a Time Before Time
2. Funeral Mist
3. In Black Silence
4. In the Shadows I Wait
5. Blasphemy
6. Infernal Atavism







Now, I have no idea who originally started Funeral Mist, but the incarnation that exists in modern times is a pretty far cry from how the project started out. It seems the project started in 1993 and put out a promo before "Darkness", but "Darkness" is the earliest material I can find from the band. I, unfortunately, don't own a copy of this release and am instead reviewing some mp3's I downloaded. At this time the band had a full line-up and features members that would play with prominent bands like Dark Funeral and Thyrfing. It makes me wonder if Arioch was just starting out in the music scene and here he joined a band on bass, since it doesn't look like he got involved with the project until it existed for a year.

Back in 1995 Funeral Mist sounded like a fairly typical Black Metal. They have serious moments of Dissection worship in the bands self-titled song "Funeral Mist", but far more rooted in Black Metal than that of a Death Metal blend like Dissection. They have that melodic edge that was pretty common to the early Swedish scene and they pull it together with a relatively dark atmosphere. It's certainly not a bad demo at all and, honestly, if the band had continued in this fashion I think they could have produced some interesting Black Metal. They were starting out at a time when that pure Swedish sound was garnering a lot of interest by fans around the world, but Funeral Mist was just too underground to be noticed at this time.

After this it sort of appears the band entirely fell apart. At least the aspect of it having a full line-up seems to have disappeared overnight. Typhos, who performed guitar and vocals went on to play guitar in Dark Funeral for a time. Vintras joined Thyrfing for a while, but never recorded anything with them. I have no idea where the drummer went off to, and this left only the bassist. He seemed the only one interested in performing music and all the other musicians seem to have left the Black Metal scene altogether.


Triumphator


Triumphator - Wings of Antichrist
Necropolis Records, 1999
Genre: Black Metal

1. Infernal Divinity
2. Conquered Light
3. Heralds of Pestilence
4. Burn the Heart of the Earth
5. Crushed Revelation
6. Redeemer of Chaos
7. The Triumph of Satan
8. Goathorned Abomination








Following up the two song teaser from 1998 Triumphator release their first full-length in 1999.  I remember one of the main reasons I picked this up, aside boasting a member of Marduk was that it was also released on Necropolis Records, who had a pretty good track record of releasing solid Black Metal bands. Furthermore having this recorded in the Abyss Studios seals the deal that this is an album that must be heard.

This is sort of an odd release, in the sense that I like it, but I do understand why it got plowed under as a Marduk rip-off in a lot of respects. Triumphator definitely hits the marks for writing fast and crushing Black Metal and "Wings of Antichrist" comes of as being quite the unrelenting release in the grand scheme of things. While the guitar work is clearly influenced by the pages of Marduk, it is not entirely a direct rip-off either. The only reason this sounds just like "Panzer Division Marduk" is because of Fredrick Anderssons unrelenting drum performance. Even when the guitar work slows down in sections, he's still blasting away with that same tried and true pattern he's been playing since "Heaven Shall Burn..." I think "Wings of Antichrist" could have had a really different feel if the drum arrangements weren't so painfully Marduk, then I think the differences in the guitar lines would have stood out a lot more. The guitar riffs both try to hook you in and try to have some really chaotic elements behind them. You hear these little solo-ish flares cut through the music real fast then disappear to leave the rhythm section as the focus. This is something Marduk never really does. But the overall punishing attitude of the riff arrangements makes it hard to see beyond the comparison.

In looking through the liner notes it's interesting to see that despite the fact that Arioch plays guitar on this album, he actually only composed two of the songs. I imagine this is because he is very focused on his other project Funeral Mist, which is, frankly, markedly better than Triumphator.  These songs are really the only moments when we are exposed to an utterly dark atmosphere. Instead the vast majority of the album is composed by Tena, who is only credited with playing bass on the album. Arioch also contributed only one song of lyrics to this album, the rest are written by a veritable who's who of the Swedish Black Metal scene. Morgan of Marduk contributed a song, Mörk from Malign contributed a lot, Belfagor from Ofermod put pen to paper for this and Nattfursth of Sorhin contributed a song. That being said, Arioch delivers his, now, signature performance which no other vocalist has ever emulated as far as I know. I mean, not even close... very few vocalists out there have been able to evoke this level of power and terror through uttered and screamed words. The tonal quality behind is voice is just utterly chilling and this is what makes this album work well for me.

In the end, I imagine this album doesn't really stand up to overall Black Metal test of time. It serves as an interesting what-if scenario in the context of "what if Arioch sang for Marduk?", but that's about it. For me, I think this holds up over the years on sheer sentimental value alone. I remember sitting in awe of the vocal performance, which is really what made the album for me. At this time I hadn't heard Funeral Mist yet, so this was all I had from Arioch and that's probably one of the main reasons it stood out so much in my mind.


Triumphator - The Ultimate Sacrifice
Holycaust Records, 1999
Genre: Black Metal

1. Redeemer of Chaos
2. Heralds of Pestilence












When I was in my later High School years, I was actually fairly in tune with what was going on in the Black Metal scene. When I heard members of Marduk were involved with the project Triumphator, I jumped at the chance to pick up everything I could find from them. Triumphator would would also introduce me to a Black Metal musician that would swiftly become one of the most influential musicians in my own career. Triumphator didn't really change the way I think about Black Metal music, but it was Arioch's other projects that really influenced me more. Triumphator was just my introduction to Arioch, which I am still thankful for. It turns out that Triumphator started out in 1996 and I'm sure that original one song demo tape is long lost to history. Perhaps one day I will find a copy, but since 1996 the project has been silent until 1999 when they released this EP. Prior to this it was released as a 7" from 1998.

The only member of Marduk Triumphator features if Frederik Andersson on drums and his involvement I think is what got this project labeled more as a Marduk clone. He has a very specific approach to blasting that just makes everything sound like Marduk, because it keeps us tuned into a specific type of beat in all the songs. Arioch and Tena's guitar work certainly fall in the typical approach of the late 90's. There weren't many bands out there really pushing the envelope and instead they fell back on just relentless tremelo picked power chords, which didn't generate much of an atmosphere. The real part of this Triumphator release that shines through is Arioch's vocals. I have really never heard such an immense and terrifying vocal approach. It truly is something to behold. However, with the seemingly traditional riffing it feels somewhat a wasted effort at times. However, I cannot fault the band for introducing me to new ideas vocally and that is why this deserves some recognition. It is in Funeral Mist that we would really see the music shine though...